Rap­tors sink Nets

Valan­ci­u­nas leads the way with 26 points, 14 re­bounds

StarMetro Vancouver - - Sports - Rap­tors in New Jersey

If it was easy, it wouldn’t be as much fun. Pushed to the lim­its by a hard-play­ing Brook­lyn Nets team, the Toronto Rap­tors es­caped the Bar­clays Cen­ter with a 116-102 vic­tory on Tues­day night that was truly well earned.

The Rap­tors over­came a tor­rid Nets start to reach the 50-win plateau for the third straight sea­son. They ran their cur­rent win streak to nine games and moved four full games ahead of the sec­ond-place Bos­ton Celtics in the NBA’S Eastern Con­fer­ence.

Fred Vanvleet sparked a 15-0 Rap­tors run in the third quar­ter that got them back in the game, and C.J. Miles made three three­p­oint­ers in the fourth quar­ter as Toronto ral­lied for a sev­enth

Jonas Valan­ci­u­nas, dom­i­nat­ing a small-ball Nets lineup, had 26 points and 14 re­bounds to lead Toronto while Derozan had 15 and Lowry added 11 points and 11 as­sists.

Brook­lyn’s D’an­gelo Rus­sell put on an as­ton­ish­ing shoot­ing dis­play in the first quar­ter, mak­ing seven straight three-point­ers and scor­ing 24 points in the first eight min­utes of the game.

Rus­sell, who didn’t make another three the rest of the night, fin­ished with 32 points

De­spite that hot start — Brook­lyn scored 40 points in the first quar­ter — the Rap­tors bench pulled Toronto into a one-point lead in the sec­ond quar­ter be­fore the starters re­turned and played them in a 67-57 half­time deficit.

The Nets, who take the sec­ond most three-point­ers per game in the league, made no se­cret of how they wanted to play, start­ing a small lineup with nom­i­nal small for­ward Dante Cun­ning­ham start­ing at cen­tre.

KATHY Willens/the as­so­ci­ated press

Brook­lyn for­ward Dante Cun­ning­ham de­fends Jonas Valan­ci­u­nas un­der the Rap­tors’ bas­ket in New York on Tues­day night, in a game Toronto came back to win by 14.

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