What a roller coaster. The Toronto Raptors scraped out a victory against the Brooklyn Nets in overtime, taking down their least-favourite opponent by a score of 127-122. It seems as though whenever the Raptors head to the Barclays Center, it’s always an entertaining one. That makes it 5 wins in a row for the Raps.
This time around, the Raptors were in control for the majority of the contest, leading by double digits after a scorching start. Then, a line-up that consisted of Lou Williams, Greivis Vasquez, Terrence Ross, Tyler Hansbrough, and Patrick Patterson hit the floor. As you could have guessed, the Nets stormed back and Dwane Casey didn’t make changes until Brooklyn was knocking on the Raptors’ doorstep.James Johnson just may have been useful here – I really don’t get it at this point.
Fourth quarter and overtime heroics by DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson saved the Raps. Brooklyn hammered the Raps in the paint, mostly because of Brook Lopez, who finished with 35. He simply had too much size for Amir and Patterson, and Jonas Valanciunas wasn’t allowed to play in the fourth quarter. Lopez almost won it for the Nets at the buzzer, has he had a wiiiide open look from a couple feet behind the free throw line. Luckily, he missed.
Ok, 127 points is pretty good. 51% shooting isn’t too shabby. However, the fourth quarter was not good at all offensively. Thankfully, DeRozan, who finished with 26 points and 9 assists, carried the Raptors. Amir Johnson was also incredibly efficient, scoring 24 on 10-11 shooting.
I’m not going to praise Lou Williams for his iso-chucking ball that disengages the offense and subsequently leads to a poor defensive possession, even if he scored 25.
Lou Williams is such a liability defensively, it hurts. The interior defence wasn’t there at all, at least in the fourth and overtime. Jonas Valanciunas also wasn’t playing for most of that period. The guy also had 14 points, 11 rebounds, was +12, and didn’t miss a shot. Just saying.
Jarrett Jack tore his former team a new one, scoring 35 points. There was this sequence, where the Raptors had a fresh shot clock, and Lou literally ran an iso. He killed the entire clock essentially, and the result was a miss paired with a Jack fast break layup. That was a turning point.
Uncharacteristically, rebounding won this one for the Raps. It wasn’t the numbers, as they lost the battle 50-45. However, the timeliness of boards by Patterson and Amir really put the Raps over the top down the stretch of this game.
Game Ball: Amir Johnson
It could have easily been DeRozan, but he fizzled at certain points down the stretch. Amir was there, consistently giving the Raps timely buckets. He also hit two very clutch free throws. It’s incredible how unappreciated Amir Johnson truly is. That is what you call heart and hustle. It would be cool if he didn’t have to play centre down the stretch, though.
Oh, and f*** Brooklyn.