Nets Fall to Defending Champion Raptors to Continue Skid

Eric Webb

Despite having a 16-point lead at one point the Nets fall 121-102 to the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors. They have now dropped five straight and are still winless in the new year.

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Surprisingly shooting wasn’t the issue for Brooklyn in this one, who has struggled in that department as of late. Going into today, Brooklyn has been only averaging 38% FG on this four-game skid.

Today they shot 47.8% from the field. So you could say they’re working through some of their offensive woes. However one part of their offense tonight was just flat out God-awful.

The Nets turned the ball over 24 times, that’s something you can’t do against Toronto. Especially when their defense has only gotten better since their championship season last year. They went from having the 5th ranked defense in the league to having the 2nd best thus far in the season.

For the Nets it’s their second highest turnover total this season besides when they had 26 against the Knicks back in October.

“Listen I think Toronto is 2nd in the league in defensive efficiency. We are 23rd in offense,” said Head Coach Kenny Atkinson. “They’re [Raptors] a hell of a team, got great experience. Great defensive team [and] one of the most athletic teams in the league. They just do a heck of a job. Not making excuses for our guys.”

Another area the Nets struggled in tonight was rebounds. The Nets are one of the better rebounding teams in the league, ranking 2 with 48.4 RPG. Against the Raptors they only grabbed 38. Particularly on the offensive boards it wasn’t even close. They grabbed six to Toronto’s 15.

Lastly, Brooklyn let the Raptors beat them at their own game, getting outscored in the paint 54-34. When it comes to points in the paint the Nets are ranked 4th in the league with 51.2 PPG. The Raptors are ranked 19th with 46.3 PPG.

“When they did take it hard to the rim, which they can do very well, we were better,” said Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse. “We were better at protecting, we were better cracking in on the bigs so there wasn’t that little dump off there as much. Just much more energy and toughness.”

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