Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett sit as Nets' furious 4th quarter rally falls just short; now trail Raptors 3-2

With four minutes to play in the 3rd quarter in Toronto last night, the Raptors led the Nets by 26 points.  Aided by this ridiculous half time buzzer-beating three from Kyle Lowry, Toronto appeared to be heading for a easy victory:

But Brooklyn outscored the Raptors 44-24 in the 4th quarter, and managed to tie the game at 101-101 with just over three minutes remaining.  The Nets comeback came with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett glued to the bench; neither entered the game in the final period.

Garnett had 4 points and 2 rebounds while playing just 12 minutes, and Pierce scored 10 in 24 minutes of action.  While Brooklyn's offense appeared more capable without them (Mirza Teletovic's 17 points helped the Nets score as many in the 4th quarter, 44, as they did in the entire first half), one can't help but wonder if the outcome might have been different had Jason Kidd gone back to his playoff tested veterans in crunch time.

Trailing 115-113, Andray Blatche rebounded his own missed free throw with three seconds left.  Mistakenly thinking the Nets needed a three-pointer, Blatche panicked and threw a pass well over the head of Deron Williams at the top of the key, resulting in a back-court violation that effectively ended the game.

Follow Mark Vandeusen on twitter @LucidSportsFan