Just as you thought the Raptors were starting to find their defensive rhythm since the return of DeMar DeRozan, some cracks have started to show in their armour once again. While the Brooklyn Nets are no longer a playoff lock, the same problems that plagued the Raptors throughout last year's playoff series hurt them again tonight.
The Raptors started the game hyperactive on defence and raced out to a 16-3 lead. This game had all the looks of an easy win, as Toronto continued to exert their dominance throughout the 1st half. Lou Williams poured in 18 points in 11 first half minutes, DeMar showed some savvy in picking up 6 assists, and Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson hadn't missed a single shot as the Raptors went into the break leading 66-54.
To start the 2nd half, the Raptors managed to stretch the lead out to 17 before the Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack show. Jack was splitting double teams seemingly at will, and Lopez gave the Raptor bigs fits with his size and mobility. The Nets came all the way back to take a 4-point lead with 3 minutes left, before DeMar DeRozan hit a series of outrageous circus shots to keep the Raptors in the game. After a nice pick and roll dish to Amir Johnson to tie the game 113-113, Lopez missed a buzzer beater at the end of the game and we were headed to overtime. The overtime session was all Raptors, as Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson came up with some big second-chance opportunities to help the Raptors escape 127-122.
The Nets had only one 30-point game all season before tonight. Now they have two more (Jack with 33, Lopez with 30) in one game.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 31, 2015
- Jarrett Jack had 35 points, 13 assists, 8 rebounds. That's not ideal.
- Kyle Lowry added another ugly game to his slate, shooting 4-17 and 1-6 from 3.
- JV and Amir missed 1 shot between them all game, going 17-18
- DeMar was great tonight, the best part was the 9 assists and 9 visits to the free throw line.