NET LOSS

Rap­tors drop game in over­time against pesky Nets ... Vanvleet sees game-win­ning at­tempt rim out ... An­other big game for Big V ... Nurse wants Lowry to shoot more threes ... Atkin­son a fan of Kawhi ... Bucks bol­ster squad by adding Hill

Winnipeg Sun - - SPORTS - RYAN WOL­STAT

BROOKYLN — The plucky Brook­lyn Nets have been hard-luck losers so many times this sea­son that maybe the bas­ket­ball deities threw them a bone on Fri­day night.

The 9-18 Nets can’t com­pete with Toronto’s tal­ent, yet out­worked the vis­i­tors and sur­vived in over­time to take the 106-105 fi­nal, drop­ping the Rap­tors to 21-6.

Fred Vanvleet had a chance to win the game, but rimmed out a three-pointer set up by Kyle Lowry on a bro­ken play that the Rap­tors man­aged to turn into some­thing work­able.

“Great ball move­ment. I know ev­ery­body would have prob­a­bly liked Kawhi (Leonard) or Kyle to take that shot, the last shot, in­clud­ing me (but) they both made great plays,” Vanvleet said.

“Kawhi found Kyle and then Kyle drove and found me wide open. I’ll take those all day, ev­ery­day.”

D’an­gelo Rus­sell had 29 points, al­low­ing Brook­lyn to over­come Leonard’s 32, and the Nets had a mas­sive 60-41 re­bound­ing ad­van­tage that helped negate Toronto’s 24-9 made free-throw ad­van­tage.

Leonard had missed a pull-up jumper late in the fourth, al­low­ing Spencer Din­wid­die a chance to pre­vent over­time, but Leonard guarded his drive well and no foul was called, re­sult­ing in the ex­tra pe­riod. Leonard threw down a mon­ster jam and hit some shots in the frame, but the Nets would not be de­nied.

The Vanvleet miss and two oth­ers by the strug­gling Lowry loomed large.

Jonas Valan­ci­u­nas had 24 points, Pas­cal Si­akam 16, but Toronto shot just 39% from the field and com­mit­ted 15 turnovers.

The Rap­tors opted to not hold a shootaround in the morn­ing, with head coach Nick Nurse ex­plain­ing that a busy week filled with games, events and sat­u­rated me­dia cov­er­age all added up, along with the no­to­ri­ously slow New York City traf­fic.

The way the game started might have caused Nurse to re­think the de­ci­sion, be­cause his charges cer­tainly could have used the shoot­ing work.

“Guys are strug­gling to find their rhythm,” Vanvleet said.

“Guys just not feel­ing good about their shots. There’s ups and downs to them, and that’s kind of the prob­lem with be­ing a three-point shoot­ing team. Some­times if you don’t make them, you’re strug­gling to claw out wins.”

In­deed, Toronto has had some aw­ful shoot­ing starts to games and this one was no dif­fer­ent. There was the 1-for-9 brick­lay­ing from be­yond the arc (in­clud­ing seven straight misses) in the first quar­ter, and 4-for-16 over­all in the first half to be­moan. Yet, Toronto found it­self tied at 53 apiece, largely thanks to a 15-3 made free throw ad­van­tage. In the open­ing half at least, the Nets could not stop the Rap­tors, but the Rap­tors could stop them­selves.

Nurse lamented the close shots more than the long ones af­ter­ward.

“We missed a lot of layups,” Nurse said.

“I was more dis­ap­pointed in our fin­ish­ing at the rim ... that tells you how many layups we missed.”

Valan­ci­u­nas didn’t have the in­side is­sues most of his team­mates did. He fol­lowed up his huge ef­fort against

GETTY IM­AGES

Rap­tors star Kawhi Leonard goes to the bas­ket against Nets’ Ron­dae Hol­lis-jef­fer­son dur­ing last night’s game in Brook­lyn.

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