Drake night was a success and the Toronto Raptors earn a victory in a rematch of the second most heartbreaking playoff series in team history. After a slow start the Raptors managed to dominate the Brooklyn Nets finishing with a 105-89 win. With a win against the Nets, Toronto improves their record to 20-6 while extending their winning streak to 4 games. Toronto was led by MVP candidate Kyle Lowry aka the Baby-Faced Assassin who had a monster game on national television in both Canada and the United States. Mason Plumlee the second year big man out of Duke had a strong performance for his club contributing 23 pts & 8 rebs in a losing effort. The Raptors will play next in the Motor City for their first game against the Detroit Pistons this Friday.
The Raptors got off to another slow start against the Nets tonight, but picked up their effort finishing the game shooting 51%. The Raptors did a much better job in the second half moving the ball, getting the Nets to get out of their rotations. The Raptors totalled 24 assists on 41 made field goals. Toronto saw a huge boost from the reserves who added 41 points, using their depth to outlast the Brooklyn Nets who were playing their second game of a back-to-back. Patrick Patterson, Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez all finished in double figures combining for 36 of 41 total bench points.
The first half defence against Brooklyn was subpar as the Raptors allowed the Nets to set the pace. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams were controlling the perimeter and getting clean looks for themselves and their teammates at will. Brooklyn finished the first quarter with 30 points. By the end of the first half, the Nets had already attempted 17 three-pointers. Luckily the Raptors started focusing their efforts starting in the second quarter where they flipped the script on Brooklyn. Jonas Valanciunas was doing a great job of going straight up and holding his ground, however Plumlee was just too active for big JV to keep his efforts for a full 48 minutes. The Raptors ultimately held the Nets to 43.2% shooting and forced them to commit 15 turnovers. #WeTheFourth was in full effect for the Raptors as they forced Brooklyn to commit 5 early fourth quarter turnovers which helped them seal the game.
The matchup on the glass in this Atlantic division tilt was fairly even. Toronto was out-rebounded by Brooklyn 43-42. However it was Amir Johnson‘s effort on the glass (9 rebounds) that helped keep Toronto in the game when they were trading buckets early on. Without much size in the middle, the Raptors should’ve dominated the glass against the Nets, but Brooklyn elected to jack up a lot of perimeter jumpers which doesn’t necessarily equate to a lot of boards around the rim.
Game Ball: Kyle Lowry
Tonight’s game ball goes to none other than Kyle Lowry. Lowry finished the game with 20 points & 12 assists proving why he not only deserves to be in this year’s All-Star game, but also the MVP conversation. Lowry completely dominated his matchup against D-Will, while getting his teammates and the crowd involved in his exciting play. If Lowry continues to play at a high level there is no doubt that he’ll make an All-NBA team by the end of the season.