The Morning After: Raptors, Drake Night Too Much For Nets, Sanity

Joe Johnson, John Salmons
The Raptors held back Joe Johnson & the Nets all night. (AP)

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Here’s a roundup of last night’s Nets festivities:

What happened: In a game of runs, the Toronto Raptors ultimately had the last one, defeating the Nets 96-80 in a sloppy affair in Toronto. The Raptors snapped the Nets’ five-game winning streak to open 2014.

Undefeated update: Kevin Garnett sat out to rest after playing a season-high 36 minutes in the team’s double-overtime victory over the Miami Heat Friday night. Thus, Kevin Garnett is undefeated in 2014.

Where they stand: The loss drops the Nets to 15-22, sole possession of eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and a half-game ahead of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Take Care, Toronto: It was Drake Night at the Air Canada Centre, celebrating Canada’s most famous rapper and global ambassador to the Raptors. He did not Take A Shot for Toronto, and they didn’t need him, because by the fourth quarter any trace of a Nets lead was So Far Gone.

Game Grades: Read ’em here.

Nothing Was The Same: The Nets didn’t defend or score at all like in their previous five games, shooting just 40 percent from the field and allowing the Raptors to shoot 11-25 from three-point range.

You don’t wear every single chain, even when you’re in the house:
Drake

Even your neighbor wears a chain.

Mason Startlee: Nets rookie Mason Plumlee earned his first career start, allowing Kevin Garnett to rest. Plumlee hadn’t been a part of the Nets rotation since the beginning of the month, only playing two stints of 14 and 55 seconds since January 2nd. Plumlee had his issues defending Jonas Valanciunas, but did do this with a basketball pass.

Slippington: Shaun Livingston started off the game with something wrong with his sneakers, slipping three times in the first few minutes. After the third time, he yelled to the bench. I presume he changed his sneakers at the next timeout. Drake was handing out OVO Jordans at halftime. Maybe he got one of those.

Ryan Ruocco, early in the game, verbatim: “Can Reggie (Evans) do anything with (the ball)? … No.”

Not Every Spill Is Jason Kidd’s Fault:

Contrary to popular belief, Kidd did not use this opportunity to draw up a play.

My Thoughts At The Half: Before this game started, I was convinced the Nets would lose. So is it weird that, only down 5 at the half, now I think they’ll win?

Third Quarter: Talk about a code switch. The Nets kicked off the third on an 18-3 run, with three-pointers from multiple players, quick points in transition, and lockdown defense on shooters, before losing it as the Raptors end the quarter on an 18-4 run, replete with Nets turnovers, poor defense, and bad shot selection. The Nets never recovered.

Jason Kidd Suit Update: Kidd sported a dark blue jacket and a light shirt with a collar two inches too big for his neck. He wore no tie, as per ritual, but it wasn’t enough for the win.

Assistant Aubrey:

They Don’t Miss The Old Alan: Former Toronto Raptors forward played like he had something to prove to his old team, with an odd amount of drives to the basket and forced passes. Don’t tempt him.

I’m Still Fly, I’m Sky High, And I Dare Anybody To Try And Cut My Wings: The Nets’ wing scorers other than Paul Pierce struggled Saturday night; Joe Johnson, Alan Anderson, Shaun Livingston, Mirza Teletovic, and Jason Terry shot a combined 15-46 from the field, and Joe Johnson didn’t make a three-pointer in four attempts. On the other side, the Raptors were led by DeMar DeRozan, who scored 26 points on 9-18 shooing, adding seven rebounds and five assists.

Power Forward Plus, Power Forward Minus: Raptors backup power forward Patrick Patterson was a +40 — yes, a +40 — in 27 minutes. Nets backup power forwards Mirza Teletovic and Reggie Evans were a -22 and -15 in 22 and 9 minutes, respectively.

Have you ever seen a double lane violation? Well, now you have:

That wasn’t a mistake — that’s just how Chuck Hayes shoots free throws. I guess no one showed Mirza this video of Chuck Hayes sending Allen Iverson into fits of laughter. That’s got to be on the scouting report.

If You Would Let Me In: The Nets shot just 10-20 in the restricted area. This is a recurring problem: the Nets rank dead last in the NBA in both field goals per game (12.8) and field goal attempts per game (22.2) in the restricted area.

Shot Chart Rorschach Test: Shaun Livingston: a fat-faced kid raising his left hand (the restricted area line is the smug smile). “Put me in, coach!”

SDOT

Airport stunting, flying charters overseas:

Across the river: The New York Knicks beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 102-92, in Philadelphia. J.R. Smith played after getting a one-game benching from Knicks coach Mike Woodson.

Next up: The Nets are on their way to London, where they’ll play one game all week against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday as a part of the NBA’s Global Games initiative. It will count as an away game for the Nets.

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