Tip-In: "Inevitable" - Raptors Dominate Early and Run Over Nets 99 to 92


A missed opportunity?  Considering the Raptors' win last night removed them from sole position of the league's third-worst record, perhaps.  Although as the HQ explains, it was pretty hard to lose last night's match to the Nets.

Jay-Z might be looking forward to a new "dynasty" so to speak, but he needs a bit more talent on his New Jersey Nets' roster first.

Because right now, the Nets suck.

There's no two ways about it other than to say that without Deron Williams, New Jersey may be the worst team in the league.

I'm talking maybe worse than Minnesota, and if you could stomach last night's 99 to 92 win by the Raptors, you know what I'm talking about.

The final score was close but let's be honest.

Without the aforementioned Williams as well as Damian James, Anthony Morrow and Mr. Kardashian, Kris Humphries, fans were left to watch a starting line-up of Dan Gadzuric, Brook Lopez, Stephen Graham, Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar.

Least talented starting five of all time?

I think you could make a case.

The funny thing though is that this five actually got off to a decent start, hitting some shots in the paint and getting put-back opportunities.

But the Nets had no answer for DeMar DeRozan early, who looked like the best player on the court.  He and Ed Davis both put in some work, and while the final score looked close, it really was over early after one.

DeRozan finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, 14 of those coming in the first Q, while Davis had 18 himself as well as 8 boards.

Tack on solid performances from James Johnson (18, 6 and 6) and Jerryd Bayless (a team-high 19 points as well as 4 assists) and the Nets just didn't have the talent to keep up.  They shot a brutal 38.6% from the field, got outrebounded 45 to 31, and it was only because of Toronto's turnover situation (18 on the night) that this one was even remotely close.

Toronto also got 21 points from its three bench players, a solid contribution considering that New Jersey got only 19 off the pine, but used five guys.

Even without Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems, Jose Calderon and Leandro Barbosa, the Nets just didn't have much punch and I couldn't help but think that I was glad Deron Williams didn't shut it down earlier this season.  Had he done that, I'm pretty sure Toronto would have had yet another team to deal with in the race for a top 3 spot in the upcoming NBA draft lottery as New Jersey is in serious free-fall mode.

Speaking of which, Toronto's win negates the one Washington pulled off the night before so now both clubs are again deadlocked for "third" with two games left.

Toronto faces the Bucks tonight, and the Heat on Wednesday.

Washington faces Boston and Cleveland over the same period, so we'll see how this plays out.

I'm giving the edge to Toronto in terms of coming away with two losses, but hopefully Jay Triano and co. don't throw a wrench in things by re-inserting guys like Amir and Jose.  This one's a wrap so let's keep that W mark at 22.

Ouch.

22 wins.

If the Dinos end the season with a 22 and 60 record it will indeed mark the club's third-worst winning percentage of all time, one win above the 1995-96 club that was...um...gulp...the team's first season in the league.

Nope, not good.

In fact even if Toronto somehow wins its final two the best they can do is equal the franchise's fourth-worst mark for futility at 24 and 58 in 2002-2003.

So do we break things down tonight versus the Bucks?  

I don't think so.

The goals really remain the same as in "play the youngsters big minutes, play tough at both ends and keep it close, but in the end, eventually come up short."

Milwaukee may not have the services of its full group either but I expect it to be a Bucks' win when all is said and done, a win that would keep Toronto on pace for that top three spot in the draft.

A draft that at 22 wins, one would argue more and more, that the club seriously needs to hit a home run in.

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