Toronto Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Every time I go to Brooklyn, I stay in Williamsburg. I remember when I went last.. in 2016, for a wedding. It was a beautiful sunny day and (obviously) I wanted to check out the Barclays Centre. So – I walked. It took an hour but it didn’t seem long when you’re stopping, eating and talking along the way. If you haven’t been to Brooklyn-check it out. Walk across the infamous Brooklyn Bridge (make sure to snap a photo), Coney Island Amusement park and if you’re reading this you’re probably into basketball so make sure to check out Prospect Park.
The top team in the east, Toronto Raptors took on the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night in Brooklyn. With playing the Knicks on Sunday, they didn’t have to travel very far, just cross the Brooklyn Bridge. All the talk this morning is about the Raptors bench and how much they did to pull out this W for the team.
We need to start off with talking about “DLoading” aka DeAngelo Russell and the night he had. Russell put up 24pts in the 1st quarter alone. Knocking down three-pointer after three-pointer, being 7/8 beyond the arc. Finishing with game high 32pts & 7reb. Russell is the first player to score 24pts in an quarter vs Toronto since Lebron James back in 2008. This effort held the Raps to 32pts in the 1st quarter.
The starting five weren’t connecting per usual so the Raptors bench, as they normally do, came in and restored some order getting the game back to tie the game before turning it back to the starters for the final 6:00 of the 2nd quarter.
Raps down by 10pts at the half, 67-57.
Then it turned again! A yo-yo- but not until Fred Van Vleet drained a well needed a three-pointer to close the gap. Van Vleet checked in to cool Russell off in the 1st just by getting into him, which is really par for the course with anyone he guards.
Fred Van Vleet said “really I just wanted to attack him before he was able to go on the attack, and we changed some coverage’s with our bigs too that helped me as well, so it wasn’t like I did it all by myself.” Humble Fred, very humble.But, the second time Van Vleet came in, a few minutes earlier than Casey normally subs him in during the 3rd quarter he changed the game. Fred finished with 15pts & 4ast.
From the point of his arrival in that 3rd quarter about 4:00 into the quarter, the Raptors went on a 15-0 run and, by the end of the 3rd, had a 2pt lead on their way to yet another win.
C.J Miles oce again draining 3/6 beyond the arc. In a span of just over two minutes midway through the 4th quarter Miles, who had been scoreless to that point, hit three three-pointers and was fouled on another converting all three from the line for a 12-point burst that gave the Raptors a little breathing room.
The Raps got little in the way of offence from either of the two biggest producers in Lowry and Demar DeRozan, with a combined total of 26pts but got 28pts from Jonas Valanciunas, a team high,to stay in this one. JV had 13 boards as Casey stayed big when the Nets went small, making for a handful of opportunities for Valanciunas to go to work with a huge advantage over some smaller defenders.
Casey talked about the potential for that as well before the game noting the Nets, like a lot of teams in the NBA, have committed wholeheartedly to the three ball but hadn’t been consistent hitting it. “At some point, they are going to start going in, we just hope it’s not tonight”, said Coach Casey.
The Raps pulled out a win over the Nets but took some work to regain the lead. A little more focus and a little more consistency is what will bring this team to the Finals.
The Toronto Raptors are chasing a new franchise record. Right now they are at 50-17 and need seven more games to beat their 2015-2016 season with 56-26. They have 15 games left to play in the regular season and will use these games to gain more confidence and more consistency.
The Raps play Victor Oladipo and the Joker himself Lance Stephenson, Thursday night in Indiana at 7:00pm.
Raptors 116-102 Nets