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Defending champs blowout Nets at home in preseason finale, 123-107

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NBA: Preseason-Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

And with that, we’re done.

The 2019 NBA Preseason is officially over, ending Friday night as the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Toronto Raptors at home, 123-107.

This was ugly. Brooklyn shot just 38 percent from the floor on the evening, while allowing the Raptors to make 24 threes, on 51.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Toronto was led by OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet, who combined to score 34 points in three quarters. Kyle Lowry played 25 minutes, in his first preseason game, scoring 9 points on 3-of-12 shooting.

Toronto scored 101 points through the first three quarters. I mean, c’mon.

Brooklyn finishes the preseason with a 3-1 record, ready to kick off the 19-20 season on Wednesday at Barclays Center against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Kyrie Irving started the game, after having missed all but a minute-plus of action in China against the Lakers. Irving played just 24 minutes, finishing with 19 points and 4 assists.

Here was Kyrie’s first basket as a member of the Nets.

The first half was all about three-pointers. Toronto went 14-of-24 (58.3%) from beyond the arc in the first half, while the Nets shot just 6-of-21 (28.6%). Needless to say, the Raptors carried a 21-point lead into halftime, 74-53.

Irving had 9 first-half points, while four Raptors scored in double figures in the first half led by OG Anunoby’s 15 points.

The Nets chipped away in the third quarter...for like two minutes...maybe three minutes, tops, before the Raptors were like, “wait, let’s make more threes, yeah?” Yeah.

Brooklyn’s defense was bad, their offense was stale. Six Nets scored in double figures, led by Irving’s 19 points, with Spencer Dinwiddie chipping in for 13 points and Jarrett Allen dropping 12 points in 18 minutes.

Final score, 123-107.

Kenny Atkinson was realistic about the Nets rhythm after the pressure-filled trip to China and Irving’s injury.

“In a perfect world, no, I would love for it to just snap together like that,” Atkinson said. “But it’s a little bad luck with Ky [Irving] getting knocked in the face. Just bad luck. There’s nothing you can do about it, and that’s part of it. We’re going to have to use some real games to figure out permanent rotations. So, sure, I think it’ll take some time.”

Hey, silver lining? This game didn’t count. On Wednesday, though, it does.

For more on the Raptors, check out Raptors HQ.

KYRIE’S KICKS

CARIS LEVERT WITH THE OL’ UP-AND-UNDER

PRO-DEMOCRACY “STAND WITH HONG KONG” PROTESTS

Meanwhile, Irving cited his reasons for speaking up at last Wednesday’s meeting with commissioner Adam Silver in Shanghai but didn’t provide a lot of details of what was said.

“Listen, I stand for four things: inner peace, freedom, equality and world peace, man. So if that’s being conflicted inside of me, I’m definitely going to have something to say, and I left it in that room,” Irving said of his conversation with Silver.

“And Adam, my teammates — I obviously speak for myself — but have a mutual respect of all the guys in the locker room. We talked about it as a team, we made a group decision and went forward to play the game. That’s just what it was.”

Irving did say he and other NBA players have more concerns about domestic issues.

“When you think about communities across the world, a lot of people would stand for world peace,” Irving said. “Government gets involved, it impacts different communities in different ways. And the reality is as individuals it’s our job to stand up for what we believe in. Now, I understand Hong Kong and China are dealing with their issues, respectively. But there’s enough oppression and stuff going on in America for me not to be involved in the community issues here as well.

“That’s one of those four pillars that goes in terms of the black community, colored people here in America. We’re fighting for everyday freedoms. So when I think about Hong Kong and China, the people are in an uproar; and for us as Americans to comment on it, African Americans or American Indians to comment on that, you’re connected nonetheless, especially when it impacts freedoms or world peace.

“So for me as an individual I stand up for those four pillars; and when they’re being conflicted I can understand why protestors come to the games.”

Atkinson declined to comment on the protests which also included chanting about Joe Tsai, who lives in Hong Kong and posted an open letter on Facebook explaining how the protests stuck a nerve in mainland China.

Tsai is executive vice president of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and chairman of South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading newspaper.