Monster night from Brook and Jack not enough to overome Raptors

Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack each had 35 points for the Nets, but it was not enough to beat the Toronto Raptors on Friday night at Barclays Center, as Toronto won 127-122 in an overtime thriller.

Jack had 35 points on 13-for-30 from the field, including 1-for-7 from behind the arc, with 12 rebounds and 4 assists. Due to the lack of depth at point guard, he played 52:13, sitting for just 47 seconds of this one.

Lopez had what one would consider a statement game off the bench, getting the Nets back into it after an early deficit and rising to the occasion as he usually does against a top team. He had 35 points on 15-for-28 from the field, with 12 rebounds and 3 steals. He played 41:08, more than he is accustomed to at this point coming off the bench.

Lopez and Jack were the first Nets teammates to each score 35+ points in a game since Mike Newlin (35 points) and Cliff T. Robinson (36 points) on February 15, 1981 vs. Golden State. They were just the third pair of Nets teammates to do this in franchise history.

Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins said of the dominance by Jack and Lopez, “More than executing, they made shots. I mean, Jarrett (Jack) had a lot of big plays, got to the basket, got to the free throw line. Brook came in – Brook actually got to the basket a few times, and then he made some shots outside, but he just got to the basket on drives. It’s a shame we can’t be in there smiling right now because we played well enough to win.”

The Raptors came out firing, as they lead 10-0 in the first few minutes. They lead 14-3 on a Jonas Valanciunas jumper with 7:50 left in the first. Soon after that, Mason Plumlee was pulled for Brook Lopez. Even though the Raptors opened up a 16-3 lead, putting Lopez in was just the spark the Nets needed.

Lopez had 8 in the first quarter, and Jack had 9, to pull the Nets as close as 24-23, and they trailed 29-23 at the end of the first.

In the second quarter, the game was tied at 36 a few minutes in, and the Raptors responded with an 11-2 run capped by a Valanciunas layup to make it 47-38 at the 6:28 mark. The Raptors kept it going and they opened up a 59-46 lead on a Terrence Ross running jumper at the 2:30 mark. A DeMar DeRozan jumper with 1.2 left gave Toronto a 66-54 lead heading into the half.

In the third, the Raptors tried to put the Nets away, as they opened up a 17-point lead, 76-59, on a Valanciunas hook shot with 8:03 left. The Raptors maintained that lead throughout the third, as Kyle Lowry hit a three to make it 89-74 at the 3:48 mark. the Nets closed the quarter on an 8-2 run capped by a Jack layup with 5.3 seconds left to trail by nine, 91-82, entering the fourth.

The Nets kept the momentum going into the fourth, and an Alan Anderson jumper tied the game at 93 with 7:49 left. Starting at the 3:48 mark of the third, for just about eight minutes exactly, the Nets went on a 19-4 run to tie the game. They kept it going, as Plumlee and Jack each got to the free throw line, and connected on all four attempts and they took a 97-93 lead with 6:35 left, extending the run to 23-4.

The Raptors were not finished, as DeRozan scored seven straight points, capped off by a turnaround jumper with 5:06 left to tie the game at 100. Jack followed with a pull-up jumper and Lopez connected on a running hook shot to make it 104-100 Brooklyn with 4:12 left. Lopez followed this up with two driving lay-ups, the second of which made it 108-105 Nets with 2:58 left in the game.

Lou Williams responded with a fade-away jumper to make it 108-107 Nets with 2:16 left. On the Nets’ ensuing possession, Joe Johnson missed an 18-footer with 1:58 left. Patrick Patterson then missed a three, and the rebound initially was ruled off Toronto, but the ball went off Plumlee’s back, so Toronto retained possession. Patterson then tried a short jumper that was blocked by Lopez, who then was called for a foul on the baseline chasing after the loose ball with Amir Johnson. Lopez was incensed, and it appeared that Johnson gave a dive soccer player Arjen Robben would be proud off to draw the call. Johnson went to the line and hit both free throws to make it 109-108 Raptors with 1:28 left.

A little while later, Joe Johnson became Joe Cool as he hit an 18-foot jumper to make it 112-111 Nets with 33.5 seconds left. After a defensive stop, Lopez got to the line and made one of two free throws to make it 113-111 Nets with 22.1 seconds left. The Raptors had plenty of time to tie it up, and they did, as an Amir Johnson dunk made it 113-all with 12.1 seconds left.

The Nets muddled their possession out of the timeout, as Joe Johnson had the ball at the top of the key, and he got it to Jarrett Jack for a drive, but he was stripped, and the Nets still had 1.3 seconds to try to win it. The inbounds pass from under the hoop went to Lopez at the top of the key for an open jumper, but it rimmed out to send the game to overtime. Terrence Ross ran past Lopez as he got the shot off, and it has to be noted Ross did this with his arms down, but that probably was enough to distract Lopez.

The Raptors controlled the early stages of the overtime, but a Lopez three-point play tied it at 120 with 1:24 left. DeMar DeRozan followed with a running jumper and Jack had a floating jumper to tie it at 122 with 56.6 seconds remaining. On the Raptors’ next possession, Plumlee blocked a DeRozan layup, but Johnson got the rebound, turned and put in the layup to make it 124-122 Raptors with 41.5 seconds remaining. The Nets bench, Hollins, was incensed that a travel was not called on Johnson, who made a full-body turn to put up the shot without a dribble.

The Nets had one of the more chaotic possessions of the game after this, as Jack missed a short jumper, the ball then kicked out to Bojan Bogdanovic, who missed a three in the corner, and then DeRozan got the rebound and was fouled by Anderson. When DeRozan hit his two free throws with 18.2 seconds left to make it 126-122, that pretty much sealed the game.

Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey said of the win, “It was ugly but guys found a way. We had a Navy S.E.A.L. come in and talk to us before the season and talk about how there is never an easy day. In this league, there is never an easy day. There are a lot of things we can clean up. I wish we had 10 days of practice but we don’t so we’re trying to do things on the fly. I thought our guys came in and competed and battled. We got stops when we needed to. We have to clean up our rebounding issue, that was our big issue right there. My hat’s off to Jarrett Jack, the kid played 52 minutes. He and Brook Lopez came in and did a good job. Jonas Valanciunas did a great job rebounding. He played a heck of a game with a double-double, 11 points and 14 rebounds from him. Amir Johnson was huge; he had some big rebounds down the stretch. He played a lot of the time with five fouls and had 24 points. He did an excellent job in the paint. He played big time and that’s one thing that Amir does for us. He’s injured most of the time but he finds a way.”

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