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Fifty wins and the third seed are both out of reach, as Nets fall to Raptors 93-87


The Raptors entered this afternoon's game against the Nets having won four of their last five games, on the back of their strong defensive effort, while the Nets entered the game with one mission (OK, maybe two); win 50 games and keep hope alive in getting to that third seed.

Unfortunately, just like that, the Nets went into Toronto and not only lost the chance to catch the Pacers but now no longer have a shot at winning 50 games, after having lost to the Raptors, 93-87. The loss also locks them into the 4th seed in the East

This one got off to a weird start, with Amir Johnson getting called for a foul on the opening tip. Two seconds into the game it already had the feeling that it might be "one of those games." To that, the Raptors got off to a 14-2 lead five minutes into the game, as the Nets had no rhythm offensively in the first quarter.

Brook Lopez struggled early, missing his first five attempts from the floor. P.J. Carlesimo went to Andray Blatche as a replacement for Lopez to pair with Reggie Evans, who picked up an early technical foul in the first quarter, his third in two games.

The Nets offense continued to struggle in the second quarter. They shot just 34.1 percent from the floor in the first half, as the Raptors built up a double-digit lead and carried it throughout the second quarter. At halftime, the Pacers had a 19-point lead, 51-32.

Lopez shot 1-of-7 from the floor in the first half for two points, and the Nets were out-rebounded 29-15 at halftime.

In the second half, Lopez caught fire early, making 5-of-7 shots in the first five minutes of the third. However, they were essentially trading basket for basket with the Raptors and had no answer for Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan. Fortunately they were able to go on a little run at the end of the third, and by the 8-minue mark in the 4th they had pulled to within six points.

Andray Blatche looked great in the second half, as a part of that late-3rd quarter surge, along with D-Will, to pull the Nets to within single digits. Blatche finished the game with 15 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes.

Deron Williams once again got clipped in the left knee, this time by Amir Johnson. He was on the ground for a few seconds but was able to walk it off and stay in the game. He continued to play at an All-Star level, finishing with 30 points and seven assists.

Late in the fourth there were a few questionable calls that seemingly killed the momentum for the Nets. The clear path foul called on C.J. Watson just didn't seem justified, giving the Raptors two shots and the ball, and taking the lead back up to eight points.

In the end, the Nets made a nice run at it, but shot just 41 percent from the floor, were out-rebounded by 11 boards and missed eight free throws.

DeRozan finished with 36 points, while Gay had 26 of his own.

Final score: Raptors 93, Raptors 87.

For more on the Raptors, see: Raptors HQ