NEW YORK — The Toronto Raptors are the only thing standing between the Brooklyn Nets and a perfect 2014.
Patrick Patterson stole Deron Williams' inbounds pass and made the go-ahead jumper with 6 seconds left, and the Raptors stopped a five-game winning streak by the Nets for the second time this month with a 104-103 victory Monday night.
Toronto dropped Brooklyn to 10-2 in January and opened a 2½ -game lead in the Atlantic Division over the Nets, who would be on the doorstep of the division lead if they could solve their neighbors to the north.
"These guys are chasing us but they're putting it together. They're playing well," Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said. "We're the only team that beat them in 2014. I mean, that's a tough team. They had the game and we made a play and we made a shot."
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Brooklyn had a three-point lead with 17 seconds left behind Paul Pierce in his best game with the Nets, but John Salmons scored on a drive with 12 seconds remaining before Brooklyn took its last timeout to move the ball into the frontcourt.
Patterson stole the pass and fed Lowry, who got it back to Patterson for his jumper. Pierce was well off on a final attempt.
"We knew they didn't have any timeouts. We guessed right and Patrick looked like Richard Sherman out there with that steal," Lowry said, referring to the Seattle Seahawks' defensive back who attended the game with a number of his teammates.
"You know me, Richard Sherman, Ed Reed, we're all in the same category," Patterson joked. "Luckily I was in the right place at the right time (for the steal). I was able to get my hands on it and corral the ball."
Patterson said his intent was to get the ball to Lowery, who had the hot hand.
But Patterson got the shot and made up for an airball earlier in the game.
"It felt great," he said. "I'm thankful I got another opportunity."
Lowry finished with 31 points and seven assists for the Raptors, who clinched a winning record in consecutive months for the first time since December 2009 and January 2010.
Pierce scored 33 points, making seven three-pointers in a strong bounce-back performance after going just 2 for 10 in his emotional return to Boston on Sunday. He had the Nets in position to win after scoring their last nine points before Toronto stole it.
"Last night was a tough game to play in, so many emotions," Pierce said. "It was good to just get some normalcy back today and I felt comfortable, relaxed. But it would've been better if we got the win today, though."
Toronto got a big boost from Patterson, who ditched the mask he began the game with for a recent broken nose and finished with 15 points, three rebounds and two steals off the bench.
"This is all about our toughness, our resiliency," Patterson said, "no matter who's out there during the course of the game."