They talked of tweaks and adjustments, changes both subtle and substantial, but there was one thing the Raptors did on Tuesday night that was more important than anything else.

They played better.

DeMar DeRozan made a series of big shots and free throws in the final 2 1/2 minutes as part of a 30-point evening as the Raptors improved enough at both ends of the court to beat the Brooklyn Nets 100-95 to even their best-of-seven NBA playoff series at a game apiece.

In front of a raucous sellout crowd of 20,382 at the Air Canada Centre, the Raptors were far calmer down the stretch, pulling out the single biggest win of the year and ensuring a Game 5 in Toronto next Wednesday night.

Games 3 and 4 are Friday and Sunday in Brooklyn.

DeRozan, frustrated for the entirety of Game 1, had 17 points in the fourth quarter, six in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

But he wasn’t perfect. He committed one of Toronto’s astonishing 21 turnovers, with less than 30 seconds left and the Raptors up two.

Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce missed a long jumper on the next possession — Pierce was just 2-for-10 from the field — and DeRozan made two free throws for a four-point lead with 20 seconds left.

After a Brooklyn bucket, the Raptors got an open drive and dunk for Amir Johnson off an inbounds play and DeRozan iced the game with two foul shots.

The Raptors forced the Nets into a 2-for-16 night from three-point range while shooting better than 40 per cent on an efficient evening.

Jonas Valanciunas was huge again with 15 points and 14 rebounds while Patrick Patterson provided a huge boost with a dozen points.