Notebook: Raptors 93, Nets 87

Posted Apr 14, 2013 8:16 PM

Duane Watson, for

THE FACTS: The Toronto Raptors (32-48) defeated the Brooklyn Nets (47-33) 93-87 to win their third game in a row and the fifth of their last six games to avoid a season sweep. Toronto led wire-to-wire and gained as much as a 21-point lead, but had some trouble late in the game, but DeMar DeRozan falling one point short of his career-high willed his squad with 36 points and five rebounds. Rudy Gay's double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds and Amir Johnson's 10 points and nine rebounds complimented the attack as the Raptors defeated their second playoff-bound opponent in a row.

Despite leading throughout the game, the Raptors did everything right leading throughout the game and despite great shot opportunities by the Nets, they couldn't get anything to fall, ballooning their lead to as much as 21 points in the first half, taking a 51-32 lead into halftime.

However, the Nets bounced back in the second half as Deron Williams scored all Nets points on a 13-4 run to end the quarter and bring the game within 11 points at 70-59. They continued to push in the fourth with 28 points in the frame, where Andray Blatche scored 10 points as the Nets brought the lead to four points with 24 seconds left. DeRozan was able to provide the distance scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter, nine of which were from the free throw line, where he didn't miss a shot en route to the team's thirteenth home victory.

Williams led all Nets with 30 points and seven assists, Brook Lopez added 16 points and Blatche had 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

QUOTABLE: "He did a heck of a job of letting the game come to him and reading the game, he was very efficient with his shots and using the screens. He's just grown in every aspect offensively that you could ask for."
-- Raptors head coach Dwane Casey on DeRozan's game.

THE STAT: Free throw shooting. While both teams were relatively close in terms of their trips to the line, (Toronto 21 attempts, Brooklyn 19 attempts) the Nets shot a lowly 58 percent and with a six point margin of victory, those eight missed free throws were crucial.

TURNING POINT: The Nets turned the game around late in the third and through most of the fourth, bringing the game to within four points with 24 seconds left. However, DeRozan's two made free throws with 15.3 seconds left gave the Raptors a 93-87 lead, and drove the nail in the Nets coffin for good.

HOT: DeRozan fell one point short of his career high with 37 on 12-for-22 shooting from the field and was a perfect 9-for-9 from the line. He also set a career-high with 3-pointers made with three, where he shot 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.

NOT: While collectively, the Nets were poor in the first half, Johnson was the worst offender. He shot 4-for-16 from the field for 12 points and five assists for the game. Many of his shots were good looks but he couldn't get them to fall. Defensively Johnson covered DeRozan and Gay who went off for 36 and 26 points respectively.

NOTABLE: Nets forward Gerald Wallace was inactive with a lower left leg contusion, Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas was out with a sprained neck. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and rapper Kardinal Offishal sat courtside. The Nets failed to win their fourth road game in a row, something they have failed to do since November 2008. They also failed to sweep the season series with Toronto, something they haven't done since the 2002-03 season.

UP NEXT: For the Raptors: Tuesday @ Atlanta, and Wednesday vs. Boston. Saturday vs. Philadelphia. For the Nets: Monday vs. Washington, and Wednesday vs. Detroit.