Booklyn Nets top Raptors 94-88 as Toronto loses sixth straight
Toronto Raptors guard John Lucas lll, right, losses the ball as Brooklyn Nets Keith Bogans, left, look on during second half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Nathan Denette)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 10:00PM EST
TORONTO -- Joe Johnson had 23 points Wednesday as the Brooklyn Nets handed the short-handed Toronto Raptors their sixth straight loss, 94-88 at Air Canada Centre.
C.J. Watson chipped in with 16 points for the Nets (12-9), who snapped a season-high five-game losing streak, including a crushing 100-97 loss to the cross-town rival New York Knicks at home Tuesday.
Ed Davis had a career-high 24 points with 12 rebounds and rookie centre Jonas Valanciunas added 15 points for Toronto (4-19), which was coming off a winless western road swing that saw the team's roster ravaged by injuries and a suspension. The Raptors have now lost 12 of their last 13 games.
Toronto's infirmary includes Andrea Bargnani, Kyle Lowry (right tricep), Linas Kleiza (sore right knee), Alan Anderson (sprained left foot) and Landry Fields (right elbow surgery).
The Raptors announced during the game that Lowry is expected to be out 10 days, while Bargnani, who has a ligament tear in his right elbow and a strained right wrist, is out indefinitely.
Toronto was also missing reserve forward Amir Johnson, who served his one-game suspension for throwing his mouthguard at official David Jones during Monday's loss in Portland.
Johnson found his rhythm in the final quarter with seven points in the first four minutes. He hit a three, swished a fadeaway jumper and then made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 77-68 for Brooklyn. He then found Watson in the corner for a three to stretch the Nets' lead to 12.
Boos rained down with five minutes left and fans headed for the exits as Toronto eased off their defence. Andray Blatche met little resistance when he drove in and made an easy finger roll layup to give the Nets a 86-71 advantage.
Toronto crawled back to make it 90-86 with 17 seconds left to play, but Watson made both his free throws and John Lucas III missed a three from the corner to stall the late rally.
Toronto came out aggressively in the third with Jose Calderon finding Davis for an easy layup to give the Raptors a 53-42 edge. But Brooklyn cut the lead to five with quick back-to-back threes by Deron Williams and Johnson, forcing Raptors head coach Dwane Casey to call time out.
Johnson hit another three with just over two minutes left to tie the game 60-60 before Watson gave Brooklyn its first lead with another dagger from behind the arc.
The Raptors opened a 33-24 cushion four minutes into the second when Lucas made an easy layup as Toronto capitalized on some sloppy ball handling by Brooklyn. The Nets had 10 turnovers to Toronto's three midway through the quarter.
With 26 seconds left, Lucas hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe and Aaron Gray tipped in DeMar DeRozan's jumper to finish the half with Toronto up 45-37.
Valanciunas and Davis combined for 17 points to give the Raptors an 20-15 lead with three minutes left in the opening quarter. Davis pushed the lead with a driving hook before Terrence Ross slammed it home off a turnover to make it 26-17 with a minute left. Davis finished the frame with 11 points.