October 21, 2020

Brooklyn Nets defeated the Toronto Raptors 101-91, Caris LeVert recorded a team-high 20 points

Last night at the Barclays Center was a momentous occasion. The Brooklyn Nets ended the Toronto Raptors 15-game win streak for this season by defeating the Raptors 101-91. With the win, the Nets are inching their way back to surpass the .500 mark. Currently, the Nets are now 25-28 on the season with their victory last night, while the Raptors fell to 40-15 for the season following this loss against the Nets.

How the Brooklyn Nets Won By The Numbers

Brooklyn outrebounded Toronto 55-42 (+13), including a 12-6 edge on the offensive glass

The Nets clipped the Raptors 27-21 in assists.

The Nets outscored the Raptors 50-38 in points in the paint.

Overall, both teams shooting percentages weren’t anything to write home about. The Nets field goal percentage was 40.9 percent (36-of-88), while the Raptors field goal percentage was 37.8 (34-of-90). The Nets also shot 25.7 percent (9-of-35) from three-point land versus the Raptors’ 30.2 percent (13-of-43), and; in the land of free, Brooklyn made 80 percent (20-of-25) of its free-throws, while Toronto hit 76.9 percent (10-of-13) of its buckets from the stripe.

At the end of the first quarter, Brooklyn had a four-point lead over Toronto, 23-19, which marked the fourth time this season that Brooklyn held its opponent under 20 points in an opening quarter. The Nets led the Raptors 52-40 at halftime. Toronto’s 40 points marked the second-fewest Brooklyn has allowed in a first half this season. The team that Brooklyn held to the lowest points at halftime, which was 35 points, was the New Orleans Pelicans with no Zion Williamson, which was on December 17, 2019, at New Orleans.

Going into the fourth quarter, Brooklyn led Toronto 75-65. In previous meetings against Toronto this season, the Nets trailed through three quarters in each of their three previous meetings by a total of 22 points. This is another testament that on any given night, even the elite NBA teams can be beaten by teams who have not reached elite status.

Coach Speak: Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson on the intangibles that helped his team defeat the Toronto Raptors

“I think I said it before the game, our compete level, our intensity level has to be three levels higher than them to have an opportunity to win the game, said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought our physicality, the things we were missing in the last two games against them, I thought we just raised that. We wanted it bad. The execution wasn’t perfect, but our will to win was at a super-high level. That’s why we came out with the W.”

“I think the process has been right,” Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris said to the media about the team’s defensive effort against the Toronto Raptors. “Sometimes you get a little fortunate, teams are off. I thought tonight and especially against Indiana we just did a better job contesting every shot. We did a good job scrambling around. A lot of times defense gets broken down, but it’s about the second effort, closing out still getting contests. You know, we just talked about trying to be the more aggressive and assertive team on both ends. Especially when you play against quality teams. That’s usually what dictates the game, who is able to establish as the aggressor early on.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert recorded a team-high 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and a season-high four steals in 36 minutes against the Toronto Raptors last night. Joe Harris scored 19 points (7-of-12 FG), six rebounds, and two assists in 35 minutes against the Raptors last night; Spencer Dinwiddie posted 17 points, six boards, and a team-high nine assists in 34 minutes; Jarrett Allen hit a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while adding three assists to his points and rebounds total in 20 minutes, and; Garrett Temple also scored in double figures for Brooklyn last night against the Toronto Raptors with 10 points in 25 minutes off the bench.

Toronto Raptors Scoring Leaders

For the Toronto Raptors, Serge Ibaka led all scorers with 28 points, nine rebounds, and two blocked shots in 35 minutes; Fred VanVleet posted 22 points in 39 minutes; Pascal Siakam registered 16 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in 37 minutes, and; Kyle Lowery contributed 12 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes.

Coach Speak: Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse on what’s ahead for the Raptors going into the NBA All-Star Break

“I think when you look at it in totality, sitting where we are right now, I think we’re extremely pleased to get to this point,” Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said about his team’s status. “The good news is I think we’ll (have) Marc Gasol back after the break. Norman Powell is pretty close as well. Obviously, that’s what is most important, is to get our team back as a whole. I think our team really battled well with a couple of key guys missing. I think we’ve had a healthy team for two games this season, so we’ve done a nice job of plugging in and picking up. In the big scheme of things, you look at the overall of where you’re sitting, and we have to be pleased with that.”

Kawhi Leonard, who last season, helped lead the Toronto Raptors to win its first-ever NBA Championship, is now with the Los Angeles Clippers. Although a follow-up question was asked of Coach Nurse about the makeup of his team this year without Kawhi Leonard, reading between the lines, the real question continues to be, can the Raptors represent the Eastern Conference and win a consecutive NBA championship?

“Well, I think that we’re hoping that some of these guys have taken some steps forward,” responded Coach Nurse. Obviously Kawhi (Leonard) is a late-game closer on both ends of the floor. Pascal Siakam has to assume that role. Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol have kind of stepped forward to assume the secondary role to Pascal Siakam. Fred VanVleet continues to get better. Norman Powell, before he got hurt, was getting better. So probably it’ll be a little more by committee on both ends and trying to figure out matchups. Again, our team has played pretty well. We’ve got some growth to do and we need to do for sure if we want to make a run at it again.”

What’s Next for the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets?

Last night was the last game for both teams before the 2020 NBA All-Star break. The NBA All-Star activities end with the 2020 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16, 2020. The Toronto Raptors will host the Phoenix Suns on Friday, February 21, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET, their first game following the NBA All-Star festivities.

Following the NBA All-Star break, the Brooklyn Nets will play two games on the road before they play at home. The Nets will travel to Philadelphia to play the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, February 20, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET, and then on to Charlotte to play the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 7:00 ET. Next, the Brooklyn Nets will travel home to Brooklyn to take on the Orlando Magic on Monday, February 24, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center.

TIP-INS:

Joe Harris, the 2019 NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest champion, and Spencer Dinwiddie, the 2018 NBA All-Star Skills Contest champion, will represent the Brooklyn Nets during State Farm’s All-Star Saturday night this year. The event will be held on February 15, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET at United Center in Chicago, Illinois and will be broadcast on TNT and ESPN Radio.

 

Spencer Dinwiddie leads all Nets players with 23 points in the loss; Caris LeVert returns to action for the first time since November 10 thumb injury

Squander is the word.

Squander is what the Brooklyn Nets did last night against the Toronto Raptors. Up by 16 points (52-36) at 3:38 in the second quarter, the Nets quickly allowed that cushion to disappear ending the second quarter up by four, 52-48. Brooklyn ended the third stanza underwater by three, 83-80, still within an opportunity to regain its footing to win, but the Nets had no answer for the Raptors’ sudden surge and never came above water ending the game down by 19 points, 121-102. With the loss, the Nets are now below .500 with a win-loss record of 16-18, meanwhile, the Raptors improved to 24-12.

The lone seemingly bright spot for the Brooklyn Nets was that the team blocked a season-high 11 shots and edged the Raptors 11-4 in blocks. It would have been a more meaningful metric if those blocks could have converted into points. The Nets’ .478 field goal percentage (32-of-67 FG) was higher than the Raptors’ .454 (44 of 97), but the Raptors shot more and completed more.

Coach Speak: Kenny Atkinson on if he notices a reoccurring theme in the second half of the last few games

“Fourth quarter, last four out of five games, we were right there, or led, or (were) close,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson responded. “That’s a theme. That’s a big theme right now. We have to figure out why. Fourth quarters have really been a thorn in our sides. It was again tonight. We competed for three-quarters of the game, a little bit more than three quarters. I think when we subbed the starters back in the game, it was a six- or seven-point game and then they kind of went on a run and I’ve kind of seen that film before recently, so we have to figure it out. We have to figure out why we’re running out of gas. Is it physical? Is it execution? It’s probably a combination of all of those things.”

Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris agrees.

“I think just looking at it, defensively, we’ve given up a lot of points in these fourth-quarter stretches – where it may be a lack of execution on one end or the other,” stated Joe Harris. “Tonight, was sort of cumulative; it kind of built up there in the third, where we gave up 35 points. In the fourth, we gave up 38, which is way too many. You’re not going to win a lot of games, especially finishing out games like that.”

Brooklyn Nets Scoring Leaders

Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets with 23 points (6-of-12 FG, 9-of-12 FT), seven assists, three rebounds, and a block in 31 minutes. And, in case you haven’t been following Dinwiddie this season, his performance last night was not an anomaly. Dinwiddie has shown demonstrable improvement since last season. Dinwiddie has scored 20+ points in 19 of his last 23 games and has scored 20+ points a single-season career-high 23 times (in 34 games). He scored 20+ points 18 times all last season (68 games). Joe Harris scored 18 points with three rebounds, and five assists in 31 minutes, Harris has now scored in double figures 27 times this season; Caris LeVert returned to action from a thumb injury last night and recorded 13 points (5-of-7 FG, 2-of-2 3FG) in 16 minutes off the bench; Garrett Temple totaled 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 30 minutes, and; Taurean Prince chipped in 10 points and six boards in 28 minutes.

LeVert, who is on a minutes restriction, is clearly someone Nets’ fans can’t wait to see get more playing time, but patience is necessary, as even LeVert doesn’t know when his minutes' restriction will end.

“I’m not sure – I’m just out here to play – that’s for coach and the performance staff,” LeVert said in response to a question regarding the next step in overcoming his minute restrictions. “Whatever minutes I’m given, I’m just going to try to go out there and do what I can.”

Toronto Raptors Scoring Leaders

For Toronto, Fred VanVleet, who went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft and was later signed by Toronto, led all scorers with 29 points, 11 assists, and four rebounds. Kyle Lowry, the oldest player on the floor and 13 years full years in the NBA, scored 26 points, five assists, and four rebounds; Serge Ibaka recorded 21 points and 12 rebounds, and; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a former member of the Brooklyn Nets, chipped in 10 points, five rebounds, and four steals.

Coach Speak: Nick Nurse on Toronto Raptors’ defense after the first quarter

“I think from the four-minute mark of the second quarter onward we really got down to a plan,” said Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “We were into the ball. We were making catches tough. Everything was pretty tough. When Brooklyn did take it to the rim, which they can do very well, we were better. We were better protecting. We were better cracking in on the “bigs” so there wasn’t that little dump off there as much. Just much more energy and toughness.”

What’s Next for the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets?

The Toronto Raptors will return home to Toronto to host the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET.

The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Orlando to play the Orlando Magic on Monday, January 6, 2020, at 7 p.m. ET, and then will hurry home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

 

Nets still figuring out their system during their last preseason game, and; group protesting NBA yielding to China caps Nets game

Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets played their last game of the NBA preseason and, in many ways, the Nets cohesiveness was similar to their first opponent of the preseason, the SESI/Franca Brazil Basketball Club. Granted, the Nets were going up against the reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, but with the addition of Kyrie Irving, fans are expecting more.

Some are attributing the Nets’ lackluster appearance to “jet lag” from their China trip, and there is some truth in that reasoning. Anyone who has taken a trip where your destination is more than six hours ahead or behind knows that it takes some time to get your groove back. But Nets center Jarrett Allen threw cold water on blaming jet lag for the team’s defeat.

“We can’t fully blame it on the hangover from China because they (Toronto Raptors) were in Japan,” Jarrett explained. “So, you could say they would have a hangover too. At the same time, we’re still learning our defensive scheme, we’re still learning playing with each other and that’s exactly what preseason is for.”

And, he’s right.

Early on the Nets were very competitive ending the first quarter even at 28 points, but in the second quarter, the Raptors pulled away ending the half with a 21-point lead 74-53. During the third quarter, the Brooklyn Nets, still down, closed the gap slightly 101-84, but ultimately lost 123-107.

“I think the first part of it is that they’re (Toronto Raptors) really good,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson regarding whether the Nets loss was due to jet lag.

“I think they’re one of the top teams in the East and they’re going to compete for the top spots. So that’s the respect I have for them. Second of all, yes, I think that was a part of it. I think that’s the first time Kyrie (Irving) was with that group in a live game. First one, so I think there will be some adjustments there. You could say that the China – kind of hangover or whatever – but I think they were in Japan if I’m correct about that, so I’m not sure what the time difference is, that’s not my area of expertise, but I’m not sure how much that plays into it. I told the guys in the locker room I was a little disappointed. This happens in this league against good teams, but I felt like we lost sight of our principles, our habits, all the things we have been working on. They kind of – poof – they kind of disappeared. So that concerned me. That was everybody, starters, guys that came in off the bench, end of the bench guys. It was kind of a breakdown of all the good things I’ve been saying all camp.”

“Camp has been great,” Atkinson continued. “The two games against the Lakers were really intact with what we’re doing, so I think when we get back to practice, we’ll get back to our core principles. You have to rewind a little bit.”

Kyrie Irving co-signed on Atkinson’s sentiment to some degree.

“They did a great job, Toronto, just stretching us on the 3-point line and I think they hit over 20 threes,” Irving said about the Raptors’ prowess. “Any NBA team that’s hitting over 20 threes is going to be successful out there on the offensive end. We’ve just got to get back to maintaining our principles, our system. Still new on the fly for us, not expected to get it right, right away, and we’ve got time to build. Just take it as a preseason game. For me, personally, I was just happy to be out there. I enjoy the game so much and entertaining, so it was just good to be out there.”

However, Coach Atkinson took it a step further when he responded to a question about whether the Nets' lack of defense was a breakdown of Nets’ principles.

“Yes,” Atkinson responded. “Defense, transition defense, guarding the ball, individual defense. I think it was just a cakewalk to the rim for them. They were in our paint all night. Then we started sucking in and they started kicking out for threes. The offense wasn’t great either, but I think we gave up 47 threes tonight. That’s not how we play. It will be good feedback and information, good film to watch with the guys and kind of restructure what we’re doing.”

On the other hand, Toronto Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse seemed to like what he saw from his team end-to-end.

“It was good,” said Coach Nurse. “I thought I played the seven that I know we are going to play and tried to keep turning it around and that was easy enough to get them in a lot of different rotations and different positions and all that stuff. They were fine. They flowed, it looked like it didn’t bother them much and we’re just giving them some experience. So, on both ends they were good.”

Coach Nurse even liked what he saw at the bottom of his rotation.

Terence (Davis) played good, right,” Coach Nurse asked? “He looked great, looked like he should’ve been in that rotation in the first half and then I thought he, like a young player does, he comes in there and gets a little comfortable and throws it all over the place for two or three possessions. That’s a growing process for him. Right now, he’s a combo guard, probably combo’ing more towards the two. But we would like him to play someone and be our third point guard, maybe, but if not we will just keep him at the two and you’ve heard me talk about it, I think it’s easier to play at the two, not as much responsibility.”

Toronto had seven players scoring in double digits including three off the bench: Serge Ibaka (15 points, 11 rebounds); Norman Powell (11 points, 3 assists), and; Terence Davis (10 points). The Raptors’ starters who were scoring leaders were: OG Anunoby (18 points, six rebounds); Fred VanVleet (16 points, eight assists, and three rebounds); Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol each scored 11 points, and Gasol added nine rebounds and three assists to his total, while Siakam complemented his total points with six rebounds and four assists.

For the Nets, Irving led all scorers with 19 points, four assists, and three rebounds. Both Taurean Prince and Spencer Dinwiddie produced 13 points, with Dinwiddie adding his points off the bench along with four assists. Jarrett Allen added 12 points and seven rebounds; David Nwaba recorded 11 points and six rebounds off the bench, and; Caris LeVert chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Brooklyn Nets start the NBA regular season at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.

TIP-IN: Although there was a group protesting the NBA’s yielding to China, the protestors didn’t catch this reporter’s attention until the game ended when people were filing out of the arena.

Protestors seeking help from Nets and NBA for freedom in China 20191018 214423 600x450

People protesting the NBA’s lack of involvement in helping Chinese and Tibetans gain more freedom from the Chinese government. Photo Credit: What's The 411 Networks, Inc.

 

 
 
 
 

Nets get a red-hot burst of 24 points from D’Angelo Russell in the first quarter, but could not overcome Raptors’ energy force in second-half

For Brooklyn Nets fans, Tuesday night started off with a D’Angelo Russell show. Russell, with a little help from his teammates, scored 24 points in the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors, on 7-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line. Russell was on fire!

And, of course, postgame, D’Angelo Russell’s assessment of his first quarter performance was what inquiring minds wanted to know

“My teammates, they got me open,” Russell told the media postgame in the Nets locker room. “Transition – they found me, they made the extra pass to me. Give a lot of credit to them.”

Shout out to Spencer Dinwiddie, as three of his five assists went to Russell during the first quarter.

Brooklyn made nine threes in the first quarter, which marked a new franchise-record for 3-pointers made in a quarter. The Nets ended the first quarter up by eight points 40-32, and Brooklyn closed out the first-half up by 10 with a score of 67-57. The 67 points marked the most points scored by the Nets in a first half this season and the most points the Nets have ever scored in a first half against the Raptors.

But, then came the third quarter when the Raptors added 30 points to its ledger and the Nets only added 18 points, putting Toronto in the lead by two, 87-85. A two-point deficit at the end of the third stanza for the Nets, that’s not so bad. But then the Nets had few answers in the final quarter, and the Raptors just ran away with the game, gaining their ninth straight win, 116-102.

So, what did Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson have to say about the Raptor’s turnaround in the second-half?

“I thought (Fred) VanVleet came in and changed the game,” Atkinson responded. “I just think his pressure, his aggressiveness, his grit, he really changed the game. I think behind him, they have two big-time rim protectors in (Serge) Ibaka and (Jonas) Valanciunas, which allows them to be aggressive on the perimeter and that’s why they are a heck of a defensive team. I think a sign of a great team is a team that can beat you in different ways. I thought we did a good job on (Kyle) Lowry and (DeMar) DeRozan considering the great players they are, and Valanciunas had a great game. I thought CJ Miles – those three threes. We foul him once, give three free throws and then he hits two threes. That got the separation there.”

Kenny Atkinson's Assessment of the Nets' Performance against the Toronto Raptors

“I thought our guys, I thought we were aggressive,” Atkinson continued. “I thought we competed, I thought we were in it and it just slipped away at the end. We missed some shots, some bunnies, some shots I thought we had a good shot at making and they come down and they made their shots. That’s how the separation – I’m a little disappointed the score says what it says because I thought the game was closer than that. I thought we were in it pretty much the whole game and then, bang, that’s how explosive they are.”

Indeed, the Raptors were explosive. They had no other choice, as they are trying to hold on to their first-place standing in the NBA Eastern Conference.

For Toronto Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey, the second-half defensive adjustments were critical and necessary, and he didn’t mince any words

“It’s something called hard play,” Casey told reporters postgame about his team’s second-half adjustments. “It’s amazing how those two words impact the game. That’s the thing we need to start the game with. Our disposition to start the game was not good. We just talked about it in there, our starters need to come out with a better disposition, a hungrier mentality and understand they are going to get the other team’s best shots. Those shots that D’Angelo Russell made at the start of the game, we can’t let somebody come in and get hot like that. It starts from the first play. We can’t play our way into the game and put taxing minutes on our bodies trying to come back. We have to do better.”

And, Russell agrees that Toronto made those necessary adjustments after the break to contain him and the Nets.

“They trapped me, forced me to pass it,” Russell said explaining the Raptors’ defensive adjustments in the second-half. “We just missed shots down the stretch. I think if we make those shots it might be a different game.”

Russell scored a game-high 32 points (10-of-22 FG, 7-of-12 3FG, 5-of-5 FT) with a team-high-tying seven rebounds, one steal, and two blocks in 35 minutes against the Raptors on Tuesday. This was Russell’s third game of 30-plus points this season, and his 32 points on Tuesday against the Raptors marked the second-most points he has scored in a game this season. He scored a season-high 33 points on Halloween 2017 against the Phoenix Suns.

Other leading scorers for the Nets on Tuesday night against the Raptors were Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, and Dante Cunningham. Hollis-Jefferson totaled 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 27 minutes off the bench. LeVert recorded 11 points, three rebounds, a team-high seven assists, and three steals in 29 minutes off the bench tonight. Cunningham tallied 10 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes. He scored in double figures for the third time in his 12th game for the Nets. This was also Cunningham’s first start for the Brooklyn Nets.

For the Raptors, three of its five starters scored in double digits: Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan, and Kyle Lowry. Valanciunas had a team-high 26 points and 14 rebounds; DeRozan tallied 15 points and seven rebounds, and; Lowry recorded 11 points and 11 assists. From the Raptors second-unit, VanVleet had 15 points, four assists, and two steals; Miles contributed 12 points and three rebounds, and; Delon Wright chipped in 10 points, three rebounds, and four assists.

Next up for the Toronto Raptors, as they try to hold onto the No. 1 seed position in the Eastern Conference, are the No. 3 seed Indiana Pacers on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at Indiana.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets have another date with the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia on Friday, March 16, 2018.

Lowry and Valanciunas drop one-two punch on the Nets; Lopez gets 29th game of 20-plus points this season, and Kilpatrick drops 20 points off the bench

It is Super Bowl Sunday and the Brooklyn Nets had a noon-time meeting with the Toronto Raptors. From a distance, it looked ominous because the Raptors were coming into the Barclays Center with a 3-0 record against the Nets this season. However, there was a glimmer of hope because Toronto was without Demar DeRozen, the team’s leading scorer and Kyle Lowry was playing with the flu. The hope continued through the first quarter with the Nets only down by two points 26-24. At the half, the hope was a little more guarded with the Nets down by eight 55-43, because we know this season’s history of third quarter breakdowns and the fact that the Nets shot less than 40 percent from the floor in the first half.

Alas, the Nets took us on a roller coaster ride during the third quarter, down by as much as 17 points. Trying to make a comeback, Brooklyn came within nine but ultimately closed the third with a 12-point deficit, 75-63; and then finishing the game 103-95.

The Raptors’ defensive push forced the Nets to turn over the ball, which stunted Nets’ ability to close the deal; and it wasn’t lost on Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“I think the number one reason is they’re really good at it,” said Atkinson explaining Toronto’s ability to force turnovers. “They strip you, they’re physical, they’ve got really good hands.”

“But I also think a fair amount of our turnovers were on the transition – advantage situations where we’re still not making the simple pass, you know, simple play,” Atkinson stated as he expanded on what he attributes to the Nets’ turnovers. “I thought in the second half we improved and that’s why we gave ourselves a chance because our defense was not great but decent enough to have a chance to win the game. So I’m glad we improved the turnover thing. We talked about it at halftime and so I’ll add to the turnover situation in the first half, I’ll add bad shot selection. It’s just that simple. I thought we took a lot of bad shots, a lot of quick shots and we were driving into a crowd a lot. The ball wasn’t moving side to side and then a drive when there’s an open hole. I think a lot of these turnovers are decisions, and our decision making wasn’t up to par in the first half. And again, the second half I thought that we improved.”

Although Jonas Valanciunas led all scorers with 22 points for the Raptors, Lowry, battling the flu, was a real spark for Toronto finishing with a triple-double scoring 15 points and 11 rebounds and assists. Terrence Ross added 17 points, DeMarre Carroll had 15 points and five rebounds, and Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet each scored 10 points, and Powell also added six rebounds.

For the Nets, Brook Lopez totaled a team-high 20 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. This is Lopez’s 29th game of 20-plus points this season. Sean Kilpatrick added 18 points and five rebounds off the bench, Trevor Booker earned a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 13 points.

Although the Nets fell to 9-42 overall and 7-20 at home with today’s loss, Lopez sees the team’s growth that may not be obvious to the casual observer.

“We obviously can look at personal growth, personal improvement, and team growth, and I think we obviously incrementally improved,” Lopez told the press in the locker room after the game.” It’s just a matter of, again, I’ve said it, but just being better for longer and being more consistent. It’s tough. We have a lot of young guys, a lot of guys who haven’t had a lot of experience in the league, and that’s why the things that really separate the great players, great teams, in this league is just coming out every night and performing at the same level. And again, I’ve got to do better at that, I’ve been guilty of that and I think we agree that we can be better when it comes to that.”

The Nets are on the road to play Charlotte on Tuesday and then come home to the Barclays Center to face the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

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