DeMar DeRozan leads as Toronto Raptors bury Brooklyn Nets

By Dhiren Mahiban, The Sports Xchange

TORONTO -- In an effort to shut down Brooklyn center Brook Lopez, the Toronto defense was collapsing on the paint all night and it nearly proved costly, but an early fourth quarter run helped the Raptors to a 132-113 victory over the Nets at Air Canada Centre.

DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 28 points and added four rebounds and two assists for Toronto, which shot 53.6 percent from the floor. Kyle Lowry chipped in 20 points, six assists and six rebounds while DeMarre Carroll added 18 points and 11 boards.


"We know we've got to play better," Carroll said. "But at the same time, we've got to try to be the team that we know we are and don't try to play down to the level of the competition."

Raptors guard Cory Joseph went 7 of 7 from the field while adding 16 points and seven assists off the bench.

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Lopez finished with 20 points, five assists and three rebounds. Friday marks the fourth consecutive game in which the 28-year-old California native has scored at least 20.

"We're shrinking the floor trying to take away the paint, we did a decent job down the stretch on that, but with that opens up the 3-point line and we did not do a good job of getting back out," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "We were in and didn't do a good job of getting back out."

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Brooklyn with 23 points and four rebounds and center Justin Hamilton added 11 points off the bench. Brooklyn finished at 47 percent from 3-point range led by Bogdanovic, who was 5 for 8 from beyond the arc.

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Toronto (26-13) has now won back-to-back games and the Nets (8-31) have dropped nine straight.

The 132 points scored by the Raptors set a franchise record for points in a non-overtime game, passing the previous mark of 131 set April 14, 2010, against the New York Knicks.

"It's tough, obviously you want to win," Lopez said. "It's tough losing, but I think we definitely are seeing progress. It's good we're moving in the right direction defensively. We're trending in the way we want to go and I think we just got to get our offense there and just being more consistent."

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Toronto opened the fourth quarter with a 21-2 run to lead by 20 with 6:53 remaining. The Raptors started the quarter with 11 straight points and matched a franchise record with 42 points in fourth while shooting 60 percent from the field.

"In the fourth quarter, we missed shots and I just felt like our transition defense just let us down," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "We ended up giving up seven 3s in that fourth quarter, probably three our for them, maybe five, in transition."

DeRozan scored 19 of his 28 points in the third quarter and helped lead a 10-0 run as the Raptors went up 90-89 after three quarters. The 28-year-old guard managed just nine points before the break as the Raptors held off the Nets 54-53 at halftime.

"Not to take anything anyway from them, but we understand how to win, if we're down," DeRozan said.

Brooklyn kept pace with the Raptors in the first half by shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc led by Bogdanovic, who was 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

NOTES: Raptors F Patrick Patterson missed Friday's game as he continues to recover from a left knee injury, which previously sidelined him for four games. Coach Dwane Casey called Patterson's absence precautionary. ... Toronto C Lucas Nogueira replaced Patterson in the Raptors' starting lineup. ... Nets G Isaiah Whitehead was inactive because of a sprained left knee. ... Brooklyn G Jeremy Lin missed his eighth game because of a strained left hamstring. ... Toronto won the first of four meetings between the clubs 116-104 on Dec. 20. Toronto visits Brooklyn on Tuesday before concluding the season series on Feb. 5.


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