Toronto’s Fred VanVleet, second from right, scores Against Brooklyn’s tight defense during Game 2 of their series on Wednesday. Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Fred VanVleet had 24 points and 10 assists, Norman Powell had a big game off the bench with 24 points and the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors held on to defeat the Brooklyn Nets 104-99 on Wednesday.

The victory gave the Raptors a 2-0 lead in the first round plyoff series.

Kyle Lowry had 21 points, nine rebounds and forced a big turnover in the closing seconds for the second seeded Raptors.

The Nets were led by Garrett Temple’s 21 points.

The Raptors raced to a 33-point second-quarter lead in Game 1 and blew out the Nets 134-110 after converting a franchise playoff record 22 3-pointers on 44 attempts.

But this game was much closer as the Nets built a 14-point lead in the first quarter.


The Raptors didn’t take their first lead of the game until nine minutes remained when OG Anunoby drove the lane and scored on a left-handed dunk. Toronto was in control after that, stretching the lead to eight on Powell’s drive and dunk from the right wing.

The Nets would have a final shot to send the game into overtime though after Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot’s 3-pointer with 40 seconds left trimmed it to 102-99 and Toronto was called for a shot clock violation on the ensuing possession. But Lowry swiped the ball away on a handoff near midcourt and Powell came up with the loose ball and scored on a breakaway dunk to seal the win.

“There is no situation we haven’t been in before,” VanVleet said after the game.

Caris LeVert had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris each had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Nets.

JAZZ 124, NUGGETS 105: Donovan Mitchell scored 21 of his 30 points in a big third quarter and Utah evened the first-round playoff series at a game apiece.

Mitchell was 10 of 14 from the floor. He helped the Jazz break the game open in the third quarter and increase the lead to 31 in the fourth. ‘


His performance was on the heels of scoring a Jazz playoff-record 57 points in a 135-125 overtime loss in Game 1. Mitchell was the focus of Denver’s defense, which helped open up other avenues for teammates.

Jordan Clarkson scored a personal playoff-best 26 points on a day when the Jazz shot 51.7% from the floor. They also had 32 assists and hit 20 3-pointers.

Game 3 is Friday.

Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. scored 28 points, and Nikola Jokic had 28 points and 11 rebounds.

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