Another win for Raptors
TORONTO—Two games from the end of their NBA season, the Toronto Raptors prefer to see themselves as a work in progress, with every game being a chance to improve for next season.
DeMar DeRozan poured in 36 points—one shy of his career high—and Rudy Gay added 26 points and 10 rebounds as the Raptors beat Brooklyn 93-87 yesterday, playing spoiler in the Nets’ fight for a favourable post-season position.
“This is a jumpstart for next year.”
Amir Johnson added 10 points and nine boards for the Raptors (32-48), who now have won five of their last six games.
Deron Williams led the Nets (47-33) with 30 points, Brook Lopez finished with 16, and Andray Blatche added 15.
Former Raptor Reggie Evans had 16 rebounds to go with zero points, and picked up a technical for slapping the ball out of Gay’s hands after the whistle.
The Nets, who will play in the post-season for the first time since 2007, are in the hunt for the third seed in the Eastern Conference—but the Raptors clearly weren’t interested in doing them any favours.
Toronto, which will miss the post-season for the fifth-consecutive season, led by double digits for most of the afternoon. And thanks largely to the cohesion of DeRozan and Gay, they were up by as much as 21 points before taking a 70-59 advantage into the fourth quarter.
“They’re learning each other,” Casey said of DeRozan and Gay.
“I know I get killed for that word [learning], but it’s a process,” he stressed. “Those guys, you can’t just throw two guys out there and say ‘run this, run that.’
“The guys have to get a rhythm, a comfort level, knowing where they want the ball, how they want the ball.”
“We’re definitely going to be something to reckon with,” DeRozan said on his partnership with Gay.
“I don’t see any team being able to stop us, especially if we’re playing like we played tonight,” he added.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Miami beat Chicago 105-93, New York downed Indiana 90-80, Philadelphia upended Cleveland 91-77, Denver bounced Portland 118-109, Dallas dumped New Orleans 107-89, Houston bombed Sacramento 121-100, and the L.A. Lakers trimmed San Antonio 91-86.