Nov 26, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) has the ball stripped from him by Brooklyn Nets forward Alan Anderson (6) at Air Canada Centre. The Nets beat the Raptors 102-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets 102 – Raptors 100…Close doesn’t count

The Toronto Raptors were getting booed at home once again. Brooklyn’s Nets had brushed aside a Q4 run by the home team and made a push of their own, outscoring the Raps 18-8 to pile up a 15-point margin. Steve Novak was fouled on a 3-point (what else?) attempt, and drained the free throws. Kyle Lowry, who was full value, made a pair of steals for layups, and the comeback was on. Even Rudy Gay, in the throes of another poor shooting night, made his only 3-ball, while Brooklyn was firing blanks. With 10 seconds left, the Raps inbounded, and the ball found its way to Amir Johnson, who hoisted a corner 3 for the win – short. Brooklyn, which didn’t make a bucket in the last 5:22 of the game, still walked off the winner.

Nov 26, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets point guard Tyshawn Taylor (10) is watched closely by Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (7) at Air Canada Centre. The Nets beat the Raptors 102-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

All of this drama should have been avoided, but the Raps played down to the level of their woeful opponents. I don’t remember seeing so many easy opposition hoops in the paint since Andrea Bargnani was our glue-footed centre. Kevin Garnett was scoring and passing effortlessly, ending with 12 points and 4 assists. Andre Blatche also feasted on the Raps’ ineffective interior defense, scoring 24. Joe Johnson is always tough; he scored 21.

The Raptors offense was woeful off the tip. Apart from Kyle Lowry’s 2 3-balls, no Rap made a bucket until DeMar DeRozan got hot more than halfway through Q1, with the Raps “stuck” ten. DD made all three 3s he tried, and worked his magic in other ways to end the Q with 13 points, on his way to a game-high 27 on 9 of 15 shooting, plus all 5 free throws he tried. While DD was a model of efficiency, Rudy was the antithesis. He consistently dribbled himself into crowded places, and was charged with 7 turnovers. Balance that dismal number against his 3 lonely baskets, and the team was ripe to fail.

At least we saw a few shots of “Novakcain” [20-second timeout: this term was coined by Knicks announcer, and former great guard, Walt Frazier, to describe the effect on the New York team when Steve Novak would enter a game, drain a few quick threes, then leave.] Novak, playing his first decent game in a Toronto uniform, was 2-4 from distance, and missed a tip-in of Johnson’s failed 3 at the buzzer. His contributions are welcome, particularly now that coach Dwane Casey has severely shortened his bench. D.J. Augustin and Landry Fields had brief, ineffective minutes; Aaron Gray and Julyan Stone never saw the floor.

Losing a home game to an injury-riddled 3-10 Nets team is very sad. The Raps need to get back on track in a hurry, as the two-time defending champion Miami Heat are in town on Friday night.

Putbacks: What was Amir doing on the floor with 10 seconds to play and a bucket needed to tie?….Former Rap Alan Anderson didn’t do much harm, missing all four 3-balls he tried….Five second-unit guys to begin Q4, when we’re down 5 points? The deficit was 9 when that experiment was mercifully ended.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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Tags: Brooklyn Nets DeMar DeRozan Kyle Lowry Toronto Raptors

  • Guy

    Brian, A game like this gives a good example of the two biggest issues, in my opinion, preventing this team from succeeding. And by succeeding, I don’t mean conference/title contenders, but success relative to the current roster, which I think is a .500/ 7-8th seed team. The problems are Coach Casey & Rudy Gay.

    First, Casey. I went into this year ready & willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. New regime, full training camp, fresh start…etc. But after watching these first 14 games, I’m pretty much convinced he’s not the man to lead this team to the next level. My main concern is with his rotations. Lowry & Derozan were fabulous in that 1st Q. If not for them, they could have ended the quarter trailing by 10 pts instead of leading by 2. With those 2 guys going great, what does Casey do? Sits them until the 6 minute mark of Q2. What??? That was ridiculous. As you pointed out, going into 4Q down five & Casey puts 5 reserves on the court & leaves them out there until Brooklyn had doubled their lead. Honestly, an indefensible decision. Lastly, in regards to the final play, the plan was for Rudy to drive the lane & either shoot or kick it out…fine. But if that’s the plan, what is Amir doing on the floor? Why was Ross not out there? Someone the Nets would have been less likely to leave open &/or more reliable from the arc. 14 games in & I’ve already lost track of how many questionable decisions Casey has made in regards to rotations.

    Second, Rudy. This guy just can’t seem to get past his ego. Regardless of his poor shooting%, turnovers & reluctance to give up the ball, he views himself as ‘THE’ guy… so he just keeps shooting. And shooting. And shooting. It makes me reach for the aspirin every time I hear him say ‘we need to get everyone involved’, only to see him chuck up another inefficient 20 shots in the next game. In some respects, Rudy is doing his best Alan Anderson impression. I wish Rudy would sit down & watch several hours of Lebron James. Lebron can score when he wants, but what makes him even more dangerous is his willingness to set up his teammates. How getting the assist opens things up for everyone as the game goes along. For whatever reason, Rudy doesn’t grasp that concept & it hurts the team.

    Would Casey’s coaching improve if Rudy was dealt? Would a new coach reign in Rudy, making him/team better? I don’t know, but this current arrangement wont get it done.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Guy:
      As to Dwane Casey: in my pre-season focus post on him, I concluded that he’s a man of integrity, which is essential in a pro sports coach, but average at best as an in-game tactician. I now think he’s below average, particularly on offense.
      Rudy Gay: I think we’ll all just about run of patience with this guy. To repeat myself slightly, I don’t think he’ll be a Rap by the trade deadline. His contract is so onerous that he’s difficult to move, but even silly contracts find new homes. A place that likes STARS (New York?), even faded ones, might take him on.
      Thanks for the thoughtful comments.