Nets cling to victory over Raptors, snap eight-game losing streak

A

Final: 12/07/2018

W 106 – 105

Nets 4

Before Friday night, the Brooklyn Nets lost eight straight games, many in heartbreaking fashion. They also had not won at home since Nov. 4. Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors came in with the best record in the league and were riding a 12-game win streak over the Nets. 

That is why absolutely no one was surprised when the Nets jumped out to a 13-2 lead and eventually beat the Raptors in overtime, 106-105.

For the Nets, the game started about as well as the Nets could have hoped. D’Angelo Russell was attacking and distributing without turning the ball over, Jarrett Allen aggressively fought for rebounds and Rodions Kurucs got playing time early (with a highlight!). 

While the Nets carried a lead for the majority of the first half, the Raptors stormed back from a 14-point deficit to tie the game going into halftime.

Coming out of the half, the Nets set the tone for another game that was going to come down to the wire. 

After an impressive third quarter from Russell where he put up 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting, hope was starting to rise for a win. 

With the rest of the game going to a familiar chaotic back-and-forth nature, the game was tied at 98-98 with a minute to play. After an out-of-bounds turnover by Russell where he was trying to call timeout, the game went to overtime. The dream-like run that started this game was turning into a familiar, recurring nightmare for the Nets. 

Brooklyn was being tested once again.

Overtime started as a battle between Russell and Kawhi Leonard, with the two trading buckets back and forth. However, with a minute left, Spencer Dinwiddie dished the ball to Allen who laid the ball into the basket to put the Nets up by one.

Kyle Lowry then proceeded to miss a step-back three-pointer that Russell rebounded and took back down the court. Then he dribbled… and dribbled… and dribbled the ball right out of bounds, giving the Raptors a 24-second shot clock to try to take the win.

After a wild defensive possession where Nets players were scrambling to cover from one end of the court to the other, it ended with the ball in Fred VanVleet’s hands with an open look at the basket. Barclay’s Center held its collective breath as he took aim.

The loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a Paul George late three ran on replay through the crowd’s mind as the shot hung in the air. Then a single sound echoed — CLUNK — and it was over.

The Nets snapped their losing streak against the best team in the NBA, exactly as everyone expected. 

D'Angelo Russell

A

The stats: 29 PTS, 13-22 FG, 2-6 3PT, 5 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 6 TO

D’Angelo Russell was once again the man who allowed Brooklyn to entertain the hope of winning this game. 

His decision-making was not always perfect — in fact, it was often suspect. The reality is the game would have been a blowout if not for Russell’s midrange game that he exhibited during the third quarter. His drives to the basket early on, like in the video below, were a key reason the Nets had a lead to begin with. 

The Brooklyn Nets live and die by the performance of D’Angelo Russell.

Ed Davis

B+

The stats: 1 PTS, 0-3 FG, 15 REB, 1 STL, 1 TO

Ed Davis was unstoppable on the boards. 

His presence in the paint was crucial as Jonas Valanciunas dropped 24 points. Davis stopped that from becoming even worse as he secured many defensive rebounds, denying the Raptors extra possessions. 

Joe Harris

B

The stats: 6 PTS, 2-8 FG, 1-3 3PT, 9 REB, 2 AST, 3 TO

Joe Harris played tenaciously, never giving the Raptors a break.

While his shots weren’t falling at their usual rate, Lumber Joe more than made up for it by fighting amongst the trees for vital rebounds. His three offensive boards were tied for the most on the team, helping the Nets to get every extra possessions they needed to close the game out.

Also, he made the one three that he DID hit count: 

Spencer Dinwiddie

B+

The stats: 17 PTS, 7-17 FG, 1-4 3PT, 2 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 3 TO

Spencer Dinwiddie may not have started the game, but he definitely helped end it. 

While he has struggled recently, especially when Harris was out of the lineup and Dinwiddie was forced into a starting role, he has been much more effective as the leader of the bench unit in recent games. Friday night, his shots in the fourth quarter kept the Nets in it just long enough to walk away with their first home win in over a month. 

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