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Nets play well for three quarters, then gave up 42 in fourth... 132-113

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

With the Raptors thriving and the Nets struggling, it’s hard to avoid thinking about what could’ve been: a special rivalry between the two Atlantic Division foes. Instead, the Raptors went up and the Nets went down since playing each other in the first round of the playoffs in the 2013-2014 season.

That’s similar to how Fridays game went, as the No. 2 seeded Raptors defeated the last-place Nets, 132-113, in the second game of a back-to-back in Toronto. The Raptors improved to 26-13 on the season, while the Nets dropped to 8-31.

Along with the horrid record, the Nets have lost nine straight and 14 straight on the road. They’re now 1-18 on the road.

Although the score showed a blowout, the teams were close… for three quarters.

The fourth quarter was a bloodbath. The Raptors scored 42 points in the fourth and 78 in the second half. At first, you felt proud of the Nets for battling in the second game of a back-to-back against a very tough Toronto team. Then, you just felt... embarrassed.

Like Thursday night, the Nets played well enough in the first half to keep their heads above water. They shot 49 percent and were led by Bojan Bogdanovic and Brook Lopez – who combined for 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting. They scored 26 points in the second quarter and shot 10-of-20, flipping and flopping leads with Toronto in the final minutes of the half.

Toronto led 54-53, but Brooklyn had the momentum and carried some of it over into the third quarter.

They scored 34 points in the third on 14-of-25 shooting, but DeMar DeRozan kept Toronto afloat, scoring 19 of his 28 points in the frame. The Nets trailed 90-89 heading into the fourth, suddenly where the momentum died after an absolute rout in the final frame.

Toronto jumped out on an 8-0 run to start the fourth -- one minute and 18 seconds to be exact. The 8-0 run extended the lead to nine, which eventually turned into a 22-2 run and a 20-point Toronto lead less than six minutes into the fourth quarter.

Toronto outscored the Nets 42-24 in the fourth. The most the Nets have ever allowed in a fourth quarter was 48 back in 1998 against Atlanta. Thankfully they didn’t break that record. It is, however, the most the Nets have allowed in a quarter this season.

Brooklyn’s stellar 3-point shooting kept the game close (17-of-36), but with the hot shooting from outside came an abysmal game inside. They were out-rebounded 49-35 and outscored inside the paint 56-34.

They also turned the ball over just 12 times and dished out an impressive 26 assists, but forced only eight turnovers and allowed Toronto to shoot 53.6 percent on the night.

Lopez scored 20 points to go along with five assists and one blocked shot, while Bogdanovic also dropped 23 on 9-of-15 shooting. In place of Jeremy Lin and Isaiah Whitehead, Spencer Dinwiddie finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.

For Toronto, DeRozan led with 28 and Lowry followed up with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists.

WHITEHEAD OUT, DINWIDDIE IN

Isaiah Whitehead sat out of Friday’s matchup with a knee injury, so Spencer Dinwiddie started in place for both Whitehead and Lin (hamstring). Lin missed his 27th game of the season, whereas Whitehead’s injury does not appear too serious.

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Well folks, it’s an NBA-worst nine-game losing streak. They are who we thought they would be, but that doesn’t make any of this easier. It’s fun watching these guys thrive but it’s even worse watching them crumble, especially in such a close game. As previously said several times... there’s always next game.

Next chance: Sunday, home vs. the Houston Rockets ... Jeremy Lin Bobblehead Night, but alas no Lin.