The Toronto Raptors drop to 35-27, after losing a close one to the Brooklyn Nets. The Raptors were impressive to start the game, going on a 9-0 run, and forcing Jason Kidd to talk things over when the Raps jumped to an early 10-point lead. However, the second quarter came, where the Claws lost all rhythm, followed by a barrage of threes and easy buckets. Finally, the fourth quarter rolled in, with the Raptors trying to dig out of a 13-point hole. Kyle Lowry and Tyler Hansbrough were doing all they could to will their team back into it, unfortunately, the excuse of tired legs, late close-outs, and poor box-outs kept them from coming back this time around.
The statistics weren’t that bad, with the Raptors turning the ball over 12 times, 19 assists, along with 49% field goal percentage, and 21-24 from the free-throw line. Problem was that the Raptors were awful in the final minutes of the game. 2 straight turnovers, a five-second violation, poor shot selection, a costly Ross turnover, Lowry with a deep 3-point shot early in the clock, and to top it off, a lane violation on a free-throw. Despite the Raptors being one of the best teams in the 4th quarter, late game situations have been a nightmare; they’ve been living off of miracles, and tonight wasn’t going to happen that way again.
The defense early in the game was fantastic, spectacular, amazing, energized, suffocating, dangerous, and perfect. I have run out of adjectives, and that’s a good thing, because the Raptors never had the same energy or play defensively the rest of the game. They gave up nearly 49% shooting from the field, gave up 31 free-throws (fouling way too much), and allowing a painful 55% from the perimeter. With all things considered, the Raptors were a step slow defensively, with almost all of the Brooklyn buckets coming from wide-open threes, easy duck-ins, deep post position, or easy drop off passes. One of the worst games defensively from the Raptors this season.
The Raptors won the overall rebounding advantage, 37-30, and also won the defensive rebounding battle 30-20, but lost the offensive rebounding battle 7-8. Now, you would think the Raptors get a much better grade, but, after watching how poorly they were at the end of the game – even throughout the game – too many offensive rebounds were given up. Consequently, some very big second chance points for the Nets followed.
I added an extra category in this post game report, because of how disappointed I was with Dwane Casey after out-coaching the opposition in the past couple of games. Bad rotations were killer, after seeing John Salmons out there far too long, and DeMar DeRozan struggling MIGHTILY, you would’ve thought Terrence Ross would come in after having such a successful first half. Furthermore, the final play calls at the end of the game were awful, with DeRozan not touching the basketball for nearly half the quarter. Just not a great day for the team overall, though.
Game Ball: Deron Williams
Deron Williams looked like the Deron Williams that basketball fans saw back in Utah. He made everything easy for his team-mates, but establishing his scoring side, putting up 18 points on 6-13 shooting, but more importantly, 4-7 from outside. He made a number of nice passes, setting up his team-mates with 5 assists, and only one turnover. Williams was efficient in running his team’s offence, and was able to do enough defensively. Tonight, the game ball goes to him for a solid performance.