Jan 11, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (10) looks to play the ball as Brooklyn Nets small forward Paul Pierce (34) tries to defend during the 2nd quarter in a game at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors Cut Down Brooklyn Nets


The Toronto Raptors won tonight 96-80 over the Brooklyn Nets. The win pushes their lead over the Nets in the Atlantic Division to 4 games.

Demar Derozan once again led the Raptors in scoring, putting up 26 points, to go along with 5 assists and 7 rebounds. He has continued to show post-Rudy Gay, that he can be a winning team’s number one option

Kyle Lowry was solid scoring 12  points and dishing out 4 assists. Patrick Patterson had anther big game off the bench, adding 14 points and 12 rebounds.

It was a strong 4th quarter effort that helped the Toronto Raptors to the victory. They outscored the Nets 28-12, and the Nets scored just 1 point in over six minutes to start off the quarter. The Raptors ended the 3rd with the same aggressiveness, capped by a Patterson block, which he followed up by taking a charge on the same possession.

The win takes the Raptors to 18-17 for the season, and brings their record to 12-3 against teams under .500. As long as they can keep beating the teams they should be, and competing against those teams better than them, the Toronto Raptors have all but assured themselves a playoff spot this year.

The challenge now is to ensure that they are able to bring their game to the level of the Pacers or the Heat, no easy task. Yet I think they have the pieces to do so, a solid core, that 1 through 5 is supremely talented. They have less than 20 games together after Rudy Gay’s trade, but in that time we have seen flashes of brilliance.

While Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson have not performed with consistency they have displayed all-star talent. If they can bring it all together on a night-in, night-out basis, this team has no ceiling. With capable scorers and distributors on the perimeter, the Raptors need their talented big men to do their job with a blue collar mentality. If they do, I can easily see them being able to do serious damage in the post-season.

The Toronto Raptors have the day off Sunday, before embarking on a four game week. Be sure to catch The Rap Up on Monday as I will evaluate the week that was, and preview the week to come.

 

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Tags: Toronto Raptors