Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports
If you’re the Toronto Raptors, facing this stretch against 10 winning teams out of your next 11 games, match ups against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets had to be seen as games you had to have. They’ve now lost to both of those teams after falling to the Nets 109-93. The Raptors simply got outplayed, and as a result lost their first division game of the year. Their frustration was evident in Demar Derozan’s hip check in the fourth quarter. That move got him tossed from the game. They’ll need to channel that frustration into positive energy on the court if they’re going to beat the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
The Raptors had a great run to end the first quarter, outscoring the Nets 17-5 to go up 28-22. It was all downhill from there. The Raptors went on to score 65 points through the final three quarters.They shot 14 more threes than the Nets, yet only made one more. There were too many forced shots from the perimeter. Although the numbers argue that Jonas Valanciunas was efficient with minimal touches (3-5 from the floor), he didn’t look like an imposing threat down in the post. Aside from 23 points from Terrence Ross, there weren’t many places to go with the ball, as nothing was really working.
It’s tough to win when your opponent is shooting 50% from both the floor and beyond the arc. Jarrett Jack lit up the Raptors yet again, scoring 24 points and dishing out six assists. His fellow ex-Raptor, Alan Anderson, also had himself a game, dropping in 22 points. Aside from some flashes from Ross against Deron Williams, the perimeter defence was non-existent. A very poor showing on that end.
The two teams were about even on the boards, with the Nets picking up one more offensive rebound. Valanciunas led his team with 10.
Player of the game: Jarrett Jack
Jack is a solid N.B.A. player that would fit with any play-off calibre team. In saying that, he’s looked like the 2007 edition of Tony Parker with the ease he has gotten to the paint in his last two games against the Raptors. Jack did a great job of getting into the paint and finding easy looks for himself and his team mates. He’s proven to be key for the Nets as they chase down that eighth seed in the east.
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