The Raptors after a terrible road trip came home with a 5 game losing streak and an injury list that was growing like a greedy kid's Christmas list. The Raptors entered the contest at the ACC with 8 health bodies and Quincy Acy arrived in Toronto at approximately 5:45 on route to the arena. It was totally understandable if the Raptors lost to the Nets and had their doors blown off. It would have been what was expected. However, the Raptors actually took the lead in this game and at one point led by double digits.
They lead 27-20 after the first quarter and manged to lead 45-37 at the half. The Nets were under performing and perhaps given circumstances expected an easy night to snap their own losing skid. Whatever Avery Johnson said at halftime was effective as the Nets took control in the 3rd outscoring Toronto 31-19. They would continue to control the game in the 4th leading by 11 points with just under two minutes to play. The Raptors would make one final push but came up short 94-88.
What was clear throughout the game was Ed Davis was well aware that opportunity was knocking for him. Later in the night the Raptors would announce news on Andrea Bargnani's injury. His status is unknown in terms of when he will return. But based on the description it sounds bad. Bargnani has a ligament tear in his right elbow and a strained right wrist.
Davis entered this game and likely for the near future knowing he can play down the stretch if he is earning the minutes. Andrea Bargnani is no longer a roadblock to that happening. Davis is saying all the right things in terms of his chance and will not say anything bad against his teammate. As close as he got was saying "Andrea is a great scorer but I can score too." Which is what Davis did in this one. Tying his career high that came in that rather fishy closing game last season also against the Nets in which Ben Uzoh also had a triple double. Davis had 24 points and 12 rebounds on the night. This was against the Nets "A" squad this time around.
Which includes former Raptor starting now for the Nets Reggie Evans. Davis did a good job battling with Reggie in his return to Toronto. Davis told me pre-game that with the combination of injures for himself and Evans they probably only matched up in practice maybe like 3 times. Whatever the case Davis was not afraid to take it at Evans and battled him hard on the boards all night. Evans had 9 points and 11 rebounds in his return to Toronto. I had a chance to have a lengthy chat with him prior to the game. Will have a preview of that chat on TWIR this week. It was a great chat that covers a lot of ground.
While Davis shinned and Jonas also had a nice night. It was DeMar DeRozan that suffered from a lot of extra attention with no Bargnani and No Kyle Lowry who is said to be out for 10 days with partial tear to his right triceps muscle. This is a position DeRozan found himself in last season with Bargnani on the sidelines. He had 11 points and 5 rebounds on the night and a lot of those points came in the late going. Had a breif chat with Demar after the cameras went away post game. He does feel last season helps him know what to expect from teams when Andrea is out. Will see if this much improved version of DeRozan can handle it better.
Raptors fall to 4-19 and will get Amir Johnson back from his one game suspension. They are also expected to see Alan Anderson return from injury to the active roster for that one as well. Dallas already has a win over a much healthier version of the Raptors in Dallas. Will see if a few more bodies help for the game Friday.
Raptors got a a few boos from the crowd in the 4th. I get how upset people are with team and franchise. However on a night with just 9 guys and one guy that arrived less than an hour prior to the game that probably was not the time to express you displeasure. The result for tonight was predictable but more based on the circumstances not on the traditional pattern the Raptors have had this season.