The Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets went head to head tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York in a battle of top Atlantic Division foes. Unfortunately despite a fast start, the Raps couldn't maintain the momentum and eventually lost a close one, 101 to 97.
Toronto opened the game with big plays from Amir Johnson and a huge dunk from Terrence Ross. The Raptors kept shooting the gap to create plenty of steals, which resulted in a 12-4 lead and early on, this one looked like an easy Raps win.
But Toronto must have truly believed that as the club let down its defensive guard, and Brooklyn came roaring back. Using various mismatches, the Nets began to get easy baskets and brought the score to 36-28 late in the second. Brooklyn definitely had a presence on defence and went on an 8-2 run to end the half, drawing within a point of the Dinos. Minus Patrick Patterson, Toronto had to roll out a few other offensive options and while it was nice to see Steve Novak playing minutes after his 5 of 6 performance against Minny, he didn't have nearly the same opportunity tonight.
Opening the third, the Nets continued their strong offence from the first half. Paul Pierce took it hard to the net in the first few seconds and got to the line to give the Nets their first lead of the game. Soon after, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams hit three consecutive long-range shots and the Dinos suddenly found themselves in a big hole. The Raptors defence at this point simply looked scrambled, slow and tired. No one was getting out to the shooters.
The Raps answered back and chipped away at the Nets lead late in the third as they went on a small run. During the fourth quarter, Toronto was always in close range with Brooklyn, but it was only until three minutes left in the game that the Dinos knotted the score thanks to some huge plays by Kyle Lowry. However down the stretch, Toronto couldn't execute in clutch moments, and Paul Pierce hit a back-breaking three-pointer with Lowry in his face to put the Nets up for good. Toronto had its chances, but the Brooklyn Nets won a critical game with a final score of 101-97.
Kyle Lowry finished the game with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, and Tyler Hansbrough came off the bench with 16 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
DeMar DeRozan had 14 points, but was only 3 of 9 from the field and Alan Anderson and Shaun Livingston absolutely smothered him all night.
The Nets were led by the aforementioned Livingston with 18, while Deron Williams also had 18, and Paul Pierce, Anderson, and Joe Johnson also hit double figures.
Sarah’s Eye: As someone who’s never hurt their shoulder before, does that tape actually help Paul Pierce’s injury?