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<p >BROOKLYN -- The Nets (21-47) had a magical first quarter against the Raptors (50-17), but it wasn’t enough to end the team’s struggles against the Eastern Conference leaders in a 116-102 defeat.</p > <p >When D’Angelo Russell scored 24 points within a span of seven minutes in the first quarter, it appeared as if Brooklyn would end its losing streak against the Raptors – which was at 10 heading into Tuesday’s encounter. The home team would take a 15-point lead three minutes into the third quarter and that’s where things started to unravel for the Nets.</p > <p >With Jarrett Allen sidelined, Toronto pounded Brooklyn at the rim as it would take a 62-36 advantage in points in the paint. Jonas Valanciunas would power the Raptors with 26 points on 12-of-20 shooting with 14 boards as the team has now won 16 out of its past 17 games. Russell paced the Nets with 32 points and seven rebounds.</p > <p >Brooklyn will now travel to Philadelphia to face the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday.</p > <p ><strong >Here’s Three Observations:</strong ></p > <p ><strong >Painful Third Quarter Costs Nets</strong ></p > <p >When Dante Cunningham converted on a tip in with 9:04 remaining in the third, it appeared as the Brooklyn would finally end its struggles against Toronto. The home team had built a 15-point lead and was looking to add to its cushion. The Nets also largely kept the opposing team’s All-Stars in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan quiet as they combined for just 26 points. But the Raptors would still find a way to respond.</p > <p >The visitors went on a 19-3 run to take a 78-77 lead with 4:58 remaining and finished the quarter by outscoring the Nets 30-18. Fred VanVleet was a big catalyst of that run, according to Kenny Atkinson.</p > <p >“I thought [Fred] VanVleet came in and changed the game,” the Nets head coach pointed out. “I just think his pressure, his aggressiveness, his grit, he really changed the game. I think behind him, they have two big time rim protectors in [Serge] Ibaka and Valanciunas, which allows them to be aggressive on the perimeter – that’s why they are a good defensive team.”</p > <p >For the young Nets, it’s another game where one 12-minute stretch undid all of their previous positives. Brooklyn started off brightly in the fourth quarter, yet Toronto again found another gear and went on a 9-0 run to build a 12-point lead with two minutes remaining in the fourth. </p > <p > “I’m a little disappointed the score says what it says because I thought the game was closer than that,” Atkinson said. “I thought we were in it pretty much the whole game and then, bang, that’s how explosive they are.”</p > <p ><strong >DLo’s Quarter to Remember</strong ></p > <p >By the time Russell had hit his opening three shots from downtown, there was a sense at Barclays Center that the crowd was about to witness something special – he didn’t disappoint.</p > <p >Within an almost-unbelievable seven-minute span in the first quarter, Russell went 7-for-7 – all threes – to score 24 of the Nets’ opening 29 points. It was the most the 22-year-old had scored in a quarter in his career and his tally from downtown put him in a tie for fifth all-time in NBA history for threes in a quarter, according to ESPN Stats and Information.</p > <p >When Russell headed to the bench the first time, he received a loud applause from the crowd as it was the best quarter by a Net the arena had seen since Joe Johnson’s 29-point third quarter outburst against the Sixers on Dec. 16, 2013. The third-year guard also sparked Brooklyn’s highest-ever scoring quarter at Barclays Center with 40 points.</p > <p >“My teammates, they got me open. Transition—they found me, they made the extra pass to me,” Russell said, reflecting on the first quarter. “Give a lot of credit to them.”</p > <p >Russell has been averaging 18.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists on 44.8 percent shooting (48.4 percent from downtown) over the past five games. </p > <p ><strong >Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Strong Play Continues</strong ></p > <p >Despite the final score, Hollis-Jefferson was a big reason why this game remained competitive until midway in the third quarter. His three-point play with 1:53 remaining in the third epitomized that as Toronto had tied the game at 82. The 23-year-old barreled his way into the lane and got off a layup before being fouled. Brooklyn would take an 85-82 lead at that stage.</p > <p >Hollis-Jefferson would do it again in the fourth as he tied the game for the Nets at 87 at 11:53, thanks to another strong drive in the lane. He would finish the game with 19 points and seven rebounds on 7-for-11 shooting. </p > <p >Entering Tuesday’s game, “CHAP” was quietly averaging a strong stat line of 14.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 50.9 percent over his last five games. Hollis-Jefferson has been coming off the bench since his return from injury, but that hasn’t affected his impact on the floor for the Nets.</p >
BROOKLYN -- The Nets (21-47) had a magical first quarter against the Raptors (50-17), but it wasn’t enough to end the team’s struggles against the Eastern Conference leaders in a 116-102 defeat.
When D’Angelo Russell scored 24 points within a span of seven minutes in the first quarter, it appeared as if Brooklyn would end its losing streak against the Raptors – which was at 10 heading into Tuesday’s encounter. The home team would take a 15-point lead three minutes into the third quarter and that’s where things started to unravel for the Nets.
With Jarrett Allen sidelined, Toronto pounded Brooklyn at the rim as it would take a 62-36 advantage in points in the paint. Jonas Valanciunas would power the Raptors with 26 points on 12-of-20 shooting with 14 boards as the team has now won 16...
D'Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have strong showings, but Nets falter down the stretch vs. Raptors
The Trail Blazers extended their league-leading winning streak to 10 games after defeating the Miami Heat 115-99 Monday night at the Moda Center, which means it's been a month since their last loss. And in that time, Portland has gone from having a one-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for sixth-pla...
Who better to deliver exercise equipment than "Shirt Off" Ed?
Ed Davis special delivered a Bowflex Max Trainer to the most recent Bowflex sweepstakes winner. You too could get a visit from Ed, though time is running out! This is your final week to enter »
The Trail Blazers defeated the Miami Heat 115-99 Monday night in a nationally-televised game on ESPN that extended Portland's league-leading win streak to ten games. As part of their coverage, ESPN sent out Chris Haynes, who covered the Trail Blazers for CSNNW and remains close with a number of play...