The Brooklyn Nets were desperate last night hoping to fight their way back into the game, but failed to make a dent and put a stop to Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siaki and Kawhi Leonard in New York last night.
Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points last night, Pascal Siaki had ten rebounds and added 28 points to his season totals, and Serge Ibaka had 12 rebounds and bagged 23 points as the Raptors went on to defeat the Brooklyn Nets 115-105 earning their fifth win in a row.
The Toronto Raptors have three games remaining in the regular season and to match last year’s total wins will need to win all remaining games to match their franchise record for regular-season victories. The win also brought an end for the Milwaukee Bucks and their hopes of taking the Eastern Conference title.
The success the Raptors have seen in the last five games is has seen sportsbooks such as Bet365 showing confidence in the franchise with improved odds. New punters to Bet365 will be rewarded with a generous signup bonus up to $200, and with the post-season set to start in the coming weeks ahead, the timing is perfect for new punters to register today.
“They were the better team. I don’t know how else to say it. They were better from start to finish. You have to give them credit. They’re a team that’s going to compete for a championship. We were not up to those standards that you have to be almost perfect and we weren’t. I would say we were average and that’s not good enough to beat that team.”
NBA on ESPN
The Bucks D’Angelo Russel scored 27 points and earned six assists and are now 39-40. Brooklyn has now lost four of their last five games and could have if they had won jumped ahead of the Pistons after they lost to the Indian Pacers but are tied instead with the Orlando Magic in seventh. The Nets managed to reduce the deficit during the early part of the third quarter, but the Raptors Siakam replied with a couple of baskets, and Marc Gasol bagged a 3-pointer to increase their lead to 66-54.
The Raptors, at one point, managed to lead by 14 points in the third and went into the fourth with a 12 point lead. D’Angelo Russel tried to kick start the fourth and scored seven points to bring the Bucks within 5 points. Russel managed to capitalise on the smaller lineup of the Nets in scoring opportunities, but on the other end of the court got punished by the versatility of Toronto’s forwards, all of which are over 6 ft. 7. Commenting on the size advantage, coach Nick Nurse of the raptors said,
“We obviously said there’s some size advantages out there. When you get some mismatches and you get a small guy on you, start roaming around in the paint and try to get some putbacks.”
The fourth quarter saw both Ibaka, Lowry and Siakam bagging three pointers In less than two minutes of play and two free throws by Siakim and Ibaka pushed the Raptors lead ahead to 108-96 with just over three minutes left in regulation time. Siakim, who had accumulated 18 points at the midway point stated,
“I kind of got thrown off like at the beginning of the game just seeing the way they were guarding me and I got a little excited. I just had to calm down a little bit and let the game come to me.”
Russel attempted another push and managed to score three pointers three times to again come within five, but it was too little, too late. Commenting, Spencer Dinwiddie, who plays guard for the Nets said,
“They’re a good, veteran ballclub. Every time we were able to close the gap they tightened the screws on their end. They got the big stop or made the big shot. That was the difference.”
The Toronto Raptors will next play the Charlotte Hornets on Friday and the Miami Heat on Sunday before heading to Minnesota for their last regular season game against the Timberwolves.