Nets snap their 5-game losing streak, escape Toronto with a 102-100 win over the Raptors

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

The Nets were once again down four key players, including Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, currently riding a 5-game losing streak and about to embark on a 4-games in 5-nights run in the schedule. First up, the Toronto Raptors.

Brooklyn came out playing as if they knew they absolutely needed this game, led by Andray Blatche (24 points, 5 rebounds) who scored 10 points in the first quarter. Though, the Raptors managed to end the first on a 16-4 run, as the Nets couldn't find a way to defend the three-point line. The Raptors made 5-of-6 three-point attempts, led by DeMar DeRozan and his three threes, and carried a 28-26 lead into the second.

Toronto continued its hot hand from beyond the arc in the second quarter, while the Nets continued to force the ball into the paint, where they were absolutely dominating the Raptors. Toronto was 9-of-16 from three in the first half.  The Nets, however, kept the intensity up late in the second, closing out the quarter on a 9-2 run, and taking a 55-51 lead into halftime.

It was a strong half of basketball, which showed the Nets making great back-door cuts under the basket, plenty of ball movement, nice adjustments -- they doubled DeRozan for most of the second after he torched them in the first -- and, yes, plenty of effort. But, don't look now, here comes the third quarter.

With third quarter struggles being a real thing and something the Nets have been determined to "work on," Brooklyn came out firing and, well, hitting their shots and making defensive stops. Three minutes into the quarter they had built a 10-point lead, doing most of their damage on long jumpers, after the Raptors had made the adjustment to defending the paint.

The rest of the quarter was a bit up and down, as the Nets went through a few rough stretches, but still managed to best the Raptors 26-25 in the third, led by Joe Johnson who had 18 points through three. Believe it or not, the Nets maintained their lead and were up 81-76 as they headed into the fourth quarter.

In the final frame, the Nets kept pushing and attacking. There was no standing on the back of their heels and letting the opposing team dictate the pace and flow. With the help of Tyshawn Taylor, who was fantastic during his time on the court, the Nets kept pressuring the Raptors.

How about that, after having lost five in a row, the Nets went on the road and finally got a victory, beating the Raptors 102-100, after the Raptors storm back late in the fourth.

It was effort. Effort and execution that carried the Nets. They were active on both ends, Kidd called the proper adjustments, and the played to their individual strengths -- Tysahwn Taylor (9 points, 4 assists in 19 minutes) and Mason Plumlee (9 points in 16 minutes) were fantastic in providing athleticism off the bench. You can make the case that Kidd made the wrong call in the final minutes, taking Taylor out in favor of Livingston, and after the Raptors went on an 11-0 run it certainly seemed so. But, at this point, you take the win, put it in your back pocket and head home.

Brooklyn plays again tomorrow night, Wednesday, at home against the Los Angeles Lakers.

For more on the Raptors, see: Raptors HQ

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