On Tuesday evening, the Nets defeated the Toronto Raptors by a final score of 113-106.
The Raptors came out playing pretty spirited defense and were surprisingly fluid on offense. Ed David and Jose Calderon combined to score 15 points for the Raptors in the first quarter, but the Nets kept pace. Brooklyn Big 3 combined to shoot 9-for-20 in the game’s opening frame and Andray Blatche and MarShon Brooks made early appearances and helped the Nets play the Raptors to a 27-all tie after a first quarter that saw the Raptors shoot 52.2 percent from the field.
Quincy Acy, one of the Raptors reserve big men, began the second quarter on the floor and made an immediate impact on the game. He scored six points in the first four minutes of the quarter and along with the Nets inability to contain Calderon on the perimeter, helped the Raptors open up a 10 point advantage. The Nets ended the quarter on a flurry, though. Brook Lopez (eight points) and Mirza Teletovic (10 points) led the team on a 24-10 over the half’s final six minutes. The Nets took a 54-50 lead into the locker room.
Over the course of the first eight minutes of the third, the teams played evenly, exchanging the lead eight times. A few stops and back-to-back threes by Williams and Johnson helped the Nets open up a seven point lead that they maintained heading into the fourth quarter. Johnson (11 points) and Lopez (eight points) came alive in the third for the Nets, while Calderon and DeMar DeRozan scored eight each for the Raptors. After three, the Nets led 83-76.
The Nets began the fourth with Williams playing with Teletovic, Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson and MarShon Brooks. That unit went on a 10-2 run to open up a 15-point lead for the Nets, capped by a beautiful three-man fast break executed by Brooks and Williams that ended with a Blatche dunk. Kyle Lowry scored eight points for the Raptors and helped close the gap to eight points at 96-88, but the Nets got some timely hoops and a few threes from Johnson and Watson. The Nets kept the Raptors at bay until Kyle Lowry made a few late threes to close the gap to at little as five points, but Williams made some free-throws down the stretch and the Nets didn’t really have to sweat this one out.
High Scorers: Brook Lopez led the Nets with 22 points and nine rebounds while Kyle Lowry (5-for-7, 4-for-5 from the three point line) led the Raptors with 21 points.
Key Stats: After turning the ball over just twice in the first half, the Nets ended the game with just six. Brooklyn Big 3 combined to score 64 points.
Who Was Hot: Mirza Teletovic easily turned in his best performance as a member of the Nets. He made the most of his 22 minutes while on the floor. Aside from his 10 points, he grabbed four rebounds and had three assists. He made good defensive plays and put the ball on the floor a few times and created looks for his teammates. He helped the Nets overcome a lackluster performance from the Humphries (0 points, one rebound), who has been inconsistent lately.
Who Was Not: For the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan shot just 5-for-15 and turned in 12 points. He had a plus/minus rating of minus-19 in his 34 minutes of action.
Fun Fact: With the win, the Nets have now won seven games in a row and are 9-1 since P.J. Carlesimo took over the team. The seven game win streak is the club’s longest since 2006, when Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Lawrence Frank led the team to a 14 game win streak that spanned about four weeks.
Moke Hamilton, NBA AnalystThe bottom line with the Nets is this: the club’s young season has already seen its fair share of highs and lows. We’re currently in the middle of a high.
There are some around the NBA that want to diminish the reality of winning nine out of ten games, mainly because of the somewhat inferior competition. While that perspective is understood, it’s difficult for any NBA team to win consistently over a long span of time.
The bottom line for the Nets is that the team is playing very good basketball and trails the New York Knicks by just 1.5 games for lead in the Atlantic division. That’s a great place to be considering the tumultuous stretch the Nets have endured. What’s just as important to consider is that the Nets have now won back-to-back games over teams that have been playing well without Gerald Wallace.