On Saturday, the Brooklyn Nets faced off against the Raptors in Toronto less than 24 hours after their thrilling double-overtime victory against the Miami Heat. The Nets five-game win streak came to an end at the expense of the DeMar DeRozan and his Raptor teammates.
The Nets appeared to be running on fumes after their emotional victory against the Heat. Coach Jason Kidd decided to sit Kevin Garnett to get his veteran forward some rest. Rookie Mason Plumlee started the game and finished with six points and five rebounds in his place but fouled out in 28 minutes of action.
Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston, who were each spectacular on Friday night, struggled to get into any rhythm as they combined to for seven of 24 shooting and scored just 19 points. Paul Pierce led the way with 15 points for Brooklyn, who as a team shot just 40 percent from the field.
Brooklyn had lots of trouble guarding the Raptors. Toronto shot 11 of 25 from three-point range. Three different players, Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross and John Salmons, each made three baskets from deep.
The Raptors were led by their best player DeRozan. The athletic swingman scored 26 points, had seven boards, five assists, one block, one steal, shot 50 percent from the floor and made seven of his eight free throw attempts. He was simply all over the floor. He contributed in every category for a Toronto team that under coach Dwane Casey has turned their season around and is surging.
"DeRozan and Lowry are playing at a high level," said Kidd after the game.
Recently acquired big man Patrick Patterson also had a big game for Toronto off the bench. Patterson finished with 14 points and 12 boards.
The Raptors have won seven of their last nine games. That stretch has brought Toronto to an 18-17 record which keeps atop the Atlantic Division and has them placed fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.
After being down 47-42 at halftime, Brooklyn came back in the third quarter and actually held a 10 point lead late in the quarter before losing it. The Raptors would go on to reclaim the lead and took a four point lead into the fourth quarter. From their the Nets were just out of gas. They went cold and they were outscored by 12 in the final stanza and lost, 96-80.
"Guys were definitely tired from last night, getting in late," said Johnson.
Now Brooklyn will have a few days off as they travel to London for a matchup on Thursday with the Atlanta Hawks.
Although the Nets win streak is over, this team appears to have started to turn the corner.
- Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets Beat Golden State Warriors at Home
- Brooklyn Nets Dismantled by Paul George and the Pacers at Indiana, 105-91
- Shaun Livingston, Brooklyn Nets Defeat Miami Heat in 2OT Thriller
- Joe Johnson Hits Winner as Brooklyn Nets Stun Thunder in Oklahoma City
- Brooklyn Nets Blown Out at San Antonio Spurs on New Year’s Eve
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