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Lopez goes off for 35 but Nets can't top Raptors

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Ah... Remember the Nets-Raptors short-lived rivalry? You know, Masai Ujiri yelling F*** Brooklyn; Paul Pierce blocking Kyle Lowry's in Game Seven --"This is why they brought me here;" Jay-Z and Drake; the logo dispute! It all seemed perfect.

And here we are today.

The Nets (18-46) are fighting to stay out of the bottom five slots in the NBA, while the 42-20 Toronto Raptors are fighting for the No.1 seed in the East. The two collided for the third time this season and the Raptors defeated the Nets, 104-99, Tuesday night in the second-to-last game of the nine-game circus road-trip.

It became the tale of two halves and the Brook Lopez vs. Toronto Raptors show.

The Nets led by 16 at halftime following a 35-point second quarter outburst. Everything seemed to be going their way... until the third quarter.

The Raptors, behind Kyle Lowry's 10 points in the third, outscored the Nets 36-22 and closed out the quarter on an 8-0 run. The Nets' 16-point lead turned into a 10-point deficit following a 22-2 Toronto run with 8:50 to play.

The run got so bad that Tony Brown used all of his timeouts with 6:45 left in the game. But the Nets weren't giving up. Behind Lopez's lead, the Nets went on an 11-2 run and cut the deficit down to five with 3:50 remaining.

Every time the Raptors looked to put this thing out of reach, Lopez would come up with a big block - two to be exact -- with less than two minutes remaining. He had SEVEN blocks on the night to go along with 35 points on 13-of-17 shooting.

The only other active players to record 35 points and seven blocks in a game: Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard.

Still, Lopez's effort wasn't enough. Lowry put the Raptors up by five and then Donald Sloan missed a contested layup with 14 seconds left. Game over. The Raptors outscored the Nets 62-41 in the second half behind 23 clutch points from Kyle Lowary and 25 points from DeMar DeRozan.

The Nets shot 6-of-12 from deep but other than Lopez, nobody stepped up on the offensive end. Thaddeus Young scored 14 points with 10 coming in the first quarter. Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 12 and Willie Reed 10 off the bench. Those were the only four players in double figures for Brooklyn.

Sean Kilpatrick played his last game of the 10-day contract and scored eight points in 15 minutes. In the three games prior, Kilpatrick averaged 13 points in 17 minutes.

It's hard without a point guard:

But maybe this will help y'all sleep better:

Next Up: The ninth and final game of the circus road trip, Friday 7:00 p.m. at Philadelphia.

For more on the Toronto Raptors, check them out at Raptors HQ.