The Least You Should Know:
[sny-box]The Nets led 101-86, but Toronto went on a 14-0 run to give Brooklyn a major scare.
Andray Blatche led the Nets in scoring with 24 points in 32 minutes. He was 10-of-16 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line and had five boards.
Joe Johnson scored 21 and added six rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes.
The Nets shot 50.6% from the field and scored 21 points off Toronto turn overs. They out-rebounded the Raptors 38-34.
Reggie Evans and Toko Shengelia both did not play (coach's decision).[/sny-box]
The Nets really tried their hardest to give this game away. Toronto's big run was a product of the Nets taking too much time to get the ball down the court and being forced into bad shots by getting too deep into the shot clock, plus a huge missed free throw by Shaun Livingston with 11.2 seconds left. I would have loved to see the Nets close their one out with authority, but beggers can't be choosers. I'll take a W where I can get it.
Finally, the Nets won two aspects of the game that has plagued them of late: the paint and the third quarter. Brooklyn dominated the interior -- thanks to strong performances from Blatche and Mason Plumlee (nine points in 16 minutes) -- and outscored Toronto 48-28 in the paint. They also improved to 4-0 when they outscored their opponents in the third stanza.
With the Raptors on a 10-2 run that cut the Nets' lead to 77-76 in the third, Tyshawn Taylor drove through traffic in the lane and finished with a two handed dunk. The Nets put 14 of the next 18 points on the board, and it really seemed to give Brooklyn the lift they needed to survive Toronto's late flourish. Good decision making and aggressiveness by the second year man out of Kansas.
Paul Pierce got D.J. Augustin to take an offensive foul in the fourth, which sent Toronto into the penalty with just under nine minutes left. That provided the Nets with some extra chances at the line (where the Nets shot 91% from tonight) and Brooklyn made it hurt.
All in all, a nearly complete effort tonight from the Nets (the exception was the final four minutes or so). They needed it desperately, and in this underachieving Atlantic division, it allows them to pick up a game in the standings. Could this be the start of a turn around? We'll certainly get our answer quickly, as they'll be back in action right away for their third back-to-back of the season.