Kyle Lowry lifts Raptors past Nets with 20 points, 12 assists
Even though it couldn't make up for that Game 7 loss in last season's playoffs, beating Brooklyn sure felt good to the Raptors.
Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 12 assists, Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Toronto used a big fourth quarter to top the Nets 105-89 Wednesday night.
Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson each scored 13 and Lou Williams had 10 in the first meeting between the teams since Brooklyn's one-point win in Game 7 of the first round last May.
"That Game 7 was definitely on my mind from the time I woke up this morning to even now," Patterson said. "I'm definitely happy that we won the game, that we handled our business out there. It was a bit of revenge in my eyes."
Patterson and Williams each scored eight points in the fourth and Lowry had six as Toronto outscored the Nets 29-16, taking advantage of six Brooklyn turnovers.
"Throughout the season our fourth quarters have usually been great," Johnson said. "That's when we really lock down and that's what we did tonight."
Mason Plumlee scored a career-high 23 points, Joe Johnson had 17 and Mirza Teletovic 14 for the Nets, who made only five of 13 field goal attempts and five of 13 free throw attempts in the fourth.
"We gave them a battle for three quarters and then we kind of fell apart," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said.
Brooklyn, which lost 95-91 at home to Miami on Tuesday night, dropped to 2-3 on the second night of back-to-backs.
At one point in the fourth, with the sellout crowd jeering loudly, Joe Johnson missed all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer.
Plumlee refused to blame fatigue for Brooklyn's poor finish.
"A lot of mistakes, turnovers and defensive breakdowns," he said. "I don't think it was being tired or anything."
Plumlee notched his fourth straight double-digit scoring performance and reached 20 points for the second consecutive game after doing so just once in his first 95 NBA games.
Toronto, which leads the Eastern Conference at 20-6, reached 20 wins before Christmas for the first time in its 20-year history. The Raptors needed 36 games to reach 20 wins in the 1999-00 and 2001-02 seasons.
"My hat is off to (the players)," coach Dwane Casey said. "But everybody in that room knows there are a lot of areas where we can get better."
The Raptors held their opponent below 100 points for the fourth straight game, matching a season-best streak. Toronto is 12-0 this season when its opponent does not score 100.
Plumlee and Teletovic each scored eight points in the first, and the Raptors missed 13 of 21 field goal attempts as Brooklyn led 30-22 after one.
Terrence Ross scored six consecutive points in a 10-2 run as Toronto tied it 46-all late in the second. Amir Johnson scored seven points in the quarter as the Raptors took a 53-52 lead at halftime.
Plumlee scored eight points in the third but Valanciunas had 10 for Toronto, including eight straight during one stretch, as the Raptors took a 76-73 edge into the fourth.
Drake, Toronto's "Global Brand Ambassador," was honored with his second annual Drake Night, with fans receiving Drake T-shirts. The rapper, who introduced Toronto's starting lineup, said he got to choose the opponent for this season's game and picked the Nets because they're the Raptors' main rival. "If there's anybody I want to beat, it's the Nets," Drake said.
Subbing in for his second NBA appearance, Raptors rookie Bruno Caboclo stopped to slap hands with Drake at the rapper's courtside seat but never made it to the scorer's table, then had to be prodded in that direction by Casey. "Then he went in for the wrong guy, too," Casey said, shaking his head. "We've got to get that cleaned up."
TEN YEARS GONE
Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of the 2004 trade that sent Vince Carter from the Raptors to the Nets. Toronto received Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and a pair of first-round draft picks. Mourning never reported to Toronto.
Nets: Kevin Garnett (rest) and Sergey Karasev (left oblique) were unavailable. Garnett has not started the second game of any of Brooklyn's past four back-to-backs. Alan Anderson and Teletovic started in their place.
Raptors: Valanciunas has eight double-doubles this season, the most of any Raptors player. ... Toronto hosted a game televised by ESPN for the first time since Jan. 4, 2008, against Detroit. ... Former Raptors GM Glen Grunwald attended the game.