Can we ban Los Nets forever?
Over the last two years, the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors have played to a literal tie across their eight-regular season and seven playoff games — 1,504-1,504 — but what would 2016 bring?
With the Nets in a looming tailspin and the Raptors near the top of the conference, sports logic might suggest that this game would be a blowout. However, the Nets often don’t follow sports logic and they even leaptout to a late second quarter lead thanks to some crafty Donald Sloan penetrations, a few lovely rainbows from Bojan Bogdanovic, and a terribly sloppy Raptors team.
The Nets, who rank 29th in the NBA in made threes, shot 4-7 from behind the arc in the first half, a rather remarkable number for them, all things considered. On the other side of things, the Raptors nailed just 2 of their 14 attempts — a recipe for success for Brooklyn, right? Wrong, the Nets would find themselves down 9 at halftime.
Sports logic will get you every time.
Ultimately, this was a winnable game for the Nets, but they managed to out-slump the poor-shooting Raptors, who finished at 43% from the field to Brooklyn’s 39.7%. After three quarters, with the starters a combined 21-49, Wayne Ellington (2-7 on his own accord) and Donald Sloan were the only two members of the bench to record a bucket — leaving the Nets at a 70-56 deficit. Even then, that was just about as close as things would get against Toronto as the collective powers of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Jonas Valanciunas (a combined 20-40, 54 points) were too much.
After eleven straight games of dead-even basketball, the Raptors tore open this semi-standing rivalry and cruised to a 91-74 victory. With just 74 points, the Nets put up the lowest total of the entire season, one worse than their collapse against the San Antonio Spurs back in November. If 2016 is bringing blowout Toronto Raptors wins in Brooklyn, then I only have one other thing to say: we have to go back!
The stats: 24 PTS, 11-21 FG%, 13 RBS, 1 AST, 1 STL, 3 BLKS, 3 TOs
Brook, you might have to bring the hair back.
With hair? Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
Without hair? 2-7 in the first quarter and a poor physical showing versus Jonas Valanciunas. Per usual, Lopez rebounded quite nicely, but those slow starts truly hurt the Nets, who often need hot starts to stay afloat at all. We’ve talked about how Lopez tends to struggle against the burly, weighty centers like Nikola Vucevic before and Valanciunas certainly falls into that category as well.
Yes, Brook turned things around on offense en route to his tenth 20 and 10 game, but the big Lithuanian also got whatever shot he wanted on the other end. All and all, not a bad effort from — literally interrupted mid-thought by Lopez’s ridiculous, falling while fouled, no-look, behind-the-back flip shot.
OK, you win tonight, Brook.
Sure, Brook https://t.co/S8ESGsiJJF
— devin kharpertian (@uuords) January 7, 2016