Revenge they sought. Revenge they got.
But it didn’t look that way on Friday night.
The Raptors (32-12) — now winners of four straight — absolutely annihilated the Nets (21-23), 122-105, Friday night at the Scotiabank Arena. The Nets, who entered Friday as the seven seed in the East, knew it would be no easy task to take down the two seed, especially in Toronto where the Raptors are 18-4.
All looked fine and dandy in the first quarter. The Nets dropped 35 points and D’Angelo Russell had 12 points, six rebounds and five assists. It looked like it might be a tightly contested match-up with Russell leading the way.
But that wasn’t the case.
While Russell handled his own, the Raptors upped their physicality in the second quarter and the game changed real quick. They finished the second quarter on a 15-3 run — 36-18 second quarter advantage — and led by 11 at half.
Then, they out-scored the Nets 35-22 in the third quarter and took a 24-point lead entering the fourth. O-V-E-R.
And so, Kenny Atkinson inserted two-way players Theo Pinson and Alan Williams. Both provided a jolt, along with Shabazz Napier, and went on a 14-0 run to cut a 26-point deficit down to 12. It was a nice run and a good look for the guys used to playing on Long Island, but that’s as close as it got.
The Nets don’t often lose in blowout fashion, but the Raptors showed the Nets why they still have a long ways to go.
In fact, in the post-game, that was the phrase Atkinson used — “a long ways to go” — to describe how the Nets have been playing. The coach also criticized the Nets effort and execution. “Not often I say this about our team,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson also expressed concern about Spencer Dinwiddie who had another subpar game, going 1-of-7 and scoring only eight points.
Atkinson admitted Spencer Dinwiddie “is in a slump right now,” and “we need him to get out of it.”
Russell finished the night with 24 points, six rebounds and nine assists in 27 minutes. Other than DLo, Shabazz Napier was one of few to step up with 15 points in 26 minutes. Jarrett Allen played well with nine points and 12 rebounds ... and added Kawhi Leonard to his list of victims.
For Toronto, eight players finished in double figures, led by Leonard (20 points, 11 rebounds).
The Nets entered Friday night’s game as the seven seed in the East — 1⁄2 game out of sixth, 1⁄2 out of eighth and 2.5 games out of ninth. They’re in good shape, but they have a brutal stretch of games coming up.
When the morning came, the Nets were still in seventh, a game out of sixth, a half-game ahead of eighth and two games ahead of ninth.
Russell’s 24 points tonight marked his single-season career-high 20th game with 20+ points. His previous high was 19 such games in the 2016-17 season with the Lakers.
JOE HARRIS, SHOOTER
The Nets have released a video on Twitter aimed at getting Joe Harris to Las Vegas and the three-point shooting contest. Harris of course is second in the NBA in shooting this season, after leading the league post All-Star Break last year.
Shooting, as Rodions Kurucs says in the video, is his life...
It’s one of two videos tweeted this week on Harris shooting prowess. Rob Perez pushed Harris to see what he could do with a Bird Box blindfold.
91 out of 105 in-game situation shots is his record during practice, Joe says.— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 8, 2019
I wanted to see what it took for him to actually miss when standing still and no defenders.
Still workshopping ideas because blindfold isnt working.
Follow @ActionNetworkHQ for full story. pic.twitter.com/q8tD8RgrmN
“It was fun,” said Harris.
“The ‘Bird Box’ thing was with Rob Perez, which was fun. He’s a pretty good guy, a fun interview. And then the video that came out was with the Nets’ PR department. It was fun. We went out in different parts of Brooklyn and had a lot of fun with it.
“I thought it was hilarious. That was the whole point, to kind of make light of the situation and just have some fun with it.”
TWO-WAY PLAYERS STEPPING UP
Alan Williams story has been pretty wild this week. The Nets waived Big Sauce after he approached them with a better opportunity in China. It didn’t work out and the deal fell through.
The Nets re-signed Williams to a two-way deal on Thursday. Friday, he was out there making his Brooklyn Nets debut.
Theo Pinson finished with nine points in 13 minutes, Williams with eight points and eight rebounds in nine minutes (!) Pinson played 40 minutes Thursday night and came away with a 43-point performance that included seven three’s. He hit another three —his first in the NBA— Friday night.
TWO-HEADED SNAKE TO ALL-STAR WEEKEND?
We know Jarrett Allen, Rodions Kurucs and Joe Harris should all be locks to head to Charlotte for All-Star Weekend in February, with Allen and Kurucs likely for the USA vs. World rookie-sophomore challenge, and Harris, of course, in the 3-point contest.
But how about Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell aka the “Two-headed snake”? Dinwiddie shared his thoughts on Instagram.
“Hell yea,” said DLo.
Russell is averaging 18.3 points and 6.3 assists (both career high’s), while Dinwiddie is averaging 17.1 points and 5.1 assists.
BIG TRADES? NAH. LEVERT’S COMING BACK
In a podcast discussion on the trade deadline, Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks agreed that while the Nets could make a deal at the deadline, they’re likely to be a big winner even if they don’t.
Woj states biggest acquisition Nets are going to make is: Caris Levert.— GNYR (@GNYR_82) January 11, 2019
DINWIDDIE’S KICKS - DRAKE
For a look at how Raptors fans reacted, head on over to Raptors HQ, our sister site on SB Nation.
The Nets return home on Monday to face the Boston Celtics.
- Box Score: Toronto Raptors 122, Brooklyn Nets 105 - NBA.com
- Video: Toronto Raptors 122, Brooklyn Nets 105 - NBA.com
- Nets Post Game Plus: TOR@BKN (Video) - Bob Lorenz - YES Network
- Atkinson talks loss to Raptors (Video) - YES Network
- Leonard has 20 points, 11 rebounds, Raptors top Nets 122-105 - Ian Harrison - AP
- Leonard’s big night lifts slow-starting Raptors past Nets - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- Nets get painful reminder of how good Raptors are - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Why power forward has become a sore spot for Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets can’t sustain fast start in blowout loss to Raptors - Greg Logan - Newsday
- RAPTORS 122, NETS 105: BROOKLYN FALLS IN TRIP TO TORONTO - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: NETS VS. RAPTORS - Brooklyn Nets
- Raptors’ starters get their work done early in rout of improving Nets - Doug Smith - Toronto Star
- Kawhi leads balanced Raptors attack over visiting Nets - Ryan Wolstat - Toronto Sun