The Red Hot Revival was in full effect Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre.
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Jonas Valanciunas added 15 points and collected 14 boards for his second straight double double as the Toronto Raptors rallied past the Brooklyn Nets to even the first-round playoff series.
Amir Johnson rebounded from a disappointing performance Saturday and scored 16 points to go with nine rebounds while Kyle Lowry added 14.
This game was a bit unpleasant to the eyes but sometimes you got to win ugly. The Raptors will now look to build a 2-1 series lead over the Brooklyn Nets as a road underdog Friday Night at the Barclays Centre.
Let’s get to the report card.
Offense – B
Similar to Saturday’s contest, the Raptors lacked an offensive flow. The jitters were in effect early as the Raptors committed turnover after turnover (10 in the first half) which led to easy baskets for the Brooklyn Nets. DeRozan was shaky in the first two quarters, but was clutch down the stretch, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter.
As a whole, Toronto finished the night with 47.4 % shooting (37-78), 12.6 % shooting from downtown (2-16) and a dreadful 20 turnovers. If we are to win the series, the turnovers need to be drastically reduced and the offense needs to be more efficient.
Defense – A
What an outstanding defensive effort tonight. I loved the intensity from Toronto, especially Landry Fields, who limited swingman Joe Johnson to 18 points on 7-13 shooting. The Raptors were aggressive with double teams and rarely conceded an easy basket (minus the five points off those nasty turnovers). Not a soul on the Brooklyn Nets roster eclipsed the 20+ point mark as the aforementioned Johnson was the team’s leading scorer. Credit must be given to Toronto’s bullish defense which limited Brooklyn to 44.2 % shooting (34-77).
Rebounding – A+
The Raptors were dominant on the glass and it showed in the stats. Toronto outrebounded Brooklyn 52-30 and nearly had twice as many offensive rebounds (19) as Brooklyn (11). The Raptors had strong rebounding performances across the board – including 27 rebounds collectively from Lowry, Patterson and Johnson. The leading rebounders for the Nets were Paul Pierce and Mason Plumlee (6 apiece).
Game Ball – DeMar DeRozan
This was one was easy. DeRozan was incredible tonight, scoring 30 points (9-21 shooting), dishing two assists and collecting three rebounds in 38 minutes. Oh ya, he also hit 12 of 14 free throws. The former USC Trojan stepped up big in crunch time and showcased a tough 18-foot two point shot to stretch the Dinos lead to 89-85. Game by game, he is proving worthy of the scrutinized contract he signed over a year ago.