The Raptors will not look back at their 54th win of the season with much fondness. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter before the Raptors were able to put together a comeback thanks to Lowry and DeRozan to secure a 116-112 win over the Brooklyn Nets last night.
Lowry and DeRozan were able to score twenty-one points together in the 4th quarter, and that allowed the Raptors to outscore the Brooklyn Nets 32-21. However, before the 4th, things looked pretty shaky, to say the least, both with the defense and offense.
Raptors coach, Dwayne Casey commented saying,
“We were not sharp whatsoever. We didn’t deserve to win that game. We found a way down the stretch but that’s not playoff basketball, that’s not winning basketball whatsoever. So many mental mistakes, it’s like we’re in a fog.
Casey added that if the team is serious about winning then they will need to get focused. Casey let everyone know about his feelings after he pulled O.G. Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan early into the third quarter.
Speaking about the move, Casey said,
“I don’t want to embarrass players like that but, again, I owe it to the organization, I owe it to our fans to make sure we get guys out there who are going to compete.”Whoever was out there tonight just wasn’t in sync. We just had to get five guys out there to compete, to fight and have their give-a-crap level a little higher.”
Casey lamented that this lack of focusing is usually seen prior to the All-star break or the holidays and that he didn’t see anything he felt was encouraging during the game, and that was shared in the locker room.
Fred VanVleet, a backup guard to the Raptors said that Casey was not pleased and that the team as a hole was unhappy.
DeRozan, who stared intently at his phone after the game added,
“It was terrible. For us to come out and play like we did, it’s terrible. We can’t have lapses like that.”
The Nets led most of the 3rd quarter by up to 14 points, but Lowry was able to close that gap to 7 points at the end of the quarter. DeRozan got things going in the 4th scoring five points to close the gap further. With only 5:31 seconds to go, the Raptors were behind by three, and with a do or die situation, game on strong scoring 11 points over the Nets 2 to take the lead by 6 points with just over 2 minutes remaining.
A three-pointer by DeMarre Carroll put the nets within 3 points however an inbound violation and Toronto going 4 out of 6 saw the Raptors close the 4th 116-112 giving the team their 54th win of the season.
Kyle Lowry ended the night with twenty-five points, ten rebounds and twelve assists, DeRozan scored twenty-one and Valanciunas twenty-three. Commenting on the win, Brooklyn’s coach, Kenny Atkinson said,
“They are an elite team. They have two great players. They made some tough plays down at the end.”
As for the Nets, D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored eighteen points each. D’Angelo Russell also racked up thirteen assists and eleven rebounds.
The Raptors are currently sitting at 54 and 19 for the season and before tonight’s game, after going 11 wins straight, lost the last three games. Brooklyn, on the other hand, painted a different picture arriving in Toronto with two back to back wins but have lost twenty of the last twenty-five games. Looking at their record against the Raptors, the Nets have lost the last eleven games the teams have played together in.
Last night’s game was the first of three games at home. The Raptors will face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday and the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. One thing is certain, the Raptors are having an excellent season and are favoured by many basketball betting site odds. Whether Toronto can regain their focus going into the next two games will be seen, but one thing is certain, Coach Casey will have plenty to say to help them in those pursuits.