Amir Johnson probably summed up the night best.
"I guess you could say we really came out strong tonight and really put the points and really put them in the dirt," he said.
With the Raps up by 18 and just over nine minutes gone in the game, they set the tone for the remainder of the night with plays on consecutive possessions.
First it was Sonny Weems feeding DeMar DeRozan a lob that was so wide open, DeRozan was able to flub the original pass, make the necessary correction and still flush it.
Twenty seconds later, after another unfruitful trip down the floor for the Nets, Jarrett Jack flew down the court on a fast break and without missing a beat, tossed a blind, behind-the-back pass to a driving Johnson who finished with a running dunk.
Nets head coach Kiki Vandeweghe had no choice but to call his second timeout of the quarter at that point but it did nothing but temporarily slow down the onslaught.
"From the jump ball our guys did a great job," said coach Jay Triano. "They got up and pressured the basketball, got some turnovers – we had more deflections tonight than we've had all year – and that led to great energy going the other way and we started making shots.
"We'd like it to happen more. For the most part throughout three quarters we did what we wanted to do as far as our aggressiveness goes and how we wanted to play. At the end it kind of got out of hand but at that point we had taken care of business."
Toronto shot 59 per cent from the field, had seven players score in double figures and got points from 11 of the 12 guys who got in the game. But when it came to dissect just why they won, it was because of the tone they set defensively early.
Triano had talked before the game about "aggressive" defence and his players – for one night – took him to heart. They forced an astonishing 23 turnovers they turned into 32 points. They got 30 fast-break points.
As for the guys wearing Nets’ jerseys in Toronto and participating in some kind of athletic exhibition last night which featured the Raptors scoring 70 points in the first half, and getting 60 of their total 118 points in the paint – it’s hard to seriously sit here and recap their performance. The Nets had a very winnable game on their schedule, with the downward spiraling Raptors losing 4 of their last 5, and came out of the gate with no energy, no defense, no offensive cohesion, and no fundamentals. Brook Lopez (14 points, 8 rebounds), who has looked like an emerging superstar as of late, resembled a struggling youngster, picking up two quick fouls in the game’s first two minutes. He left with the Nets trailing 9-4, he returned in the second quarter with his team down 39-15. The Raptors had shot 67 percent from the field while the Nets struggled to hit 37 percent of their shots, and turned the ball over 7 times to boot.
“Remember about four years ago, we were that,” said the Toronto superstar, referring to the 2005-06 season, when the Raptors started 4-20 before winning seven of nine.
“That’s what I was telling Devin. He’s like, ‘I dunno, you haven’t seen us.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, yes I have.’ I know what it’s like. It’s tough — it’s very unfortunate that guys have to go through that — but they’re the only guys who are going to get them out of that hole. You have to stay with it and keep working.”
Bosh hoped the victory would serve as a lesson to his team of what they can do on a nightly basis.
"It shows us what we can be if we apply ourselves," Bosh said. "We know that New Jersey is struggling right now, but it is still the NBA and they are still a basketball team and everybody gets paid to do their job."
“I was just trying to emphasize pride,” Douglas-Roberts said. “You’re a professional athlete. You’re in the NBA. What do you want to be known for? Where is your pride? You have to be a prideful person to play any sport. If you’re just playing just to play or for the money, you won’t amount to anything.”
The Nets are in position to have the most money in free agency, but what marquee player would want to join them? Bosh was diplomatic when approached about whether the Nets have hurt themselves.
“I don’t think so,” Bosh said. “I think it’s all about the pieces they have. You have to kind of see the future when you’re doing stuff like that. As long as you have a good organization and hardworking GM, things can get better.”
Bosh was then asked if he would look at the Nets and evaluate them when he hits the open market July 1.
“Nah,” he said. “Not me.”
"The entire game was inexcusable. All the turnovers in the first half , that was inexcusable," said Alston who, according to several players, led a halftime locker room tirade with Douglas-Roberts. "Not helping from the weak side is inexcusable. Giving up all those layups and dunks are inexcusable. Not running back is inexcusable — little kids can see that."
So can potential free agents like the Raptors' Chris Bosh (16 points, eight rebounds).
"I know how that [2-25] feels. About four years ago, we were that. That's what I was telling Devin," Bosh said. "It's tough, it's very unfortunate that guys have to go through that but they're the only guys who are going to get them out of that hole. . . . Nobody felt sorry for me, it's part of the gig."
And you could be a part of that, Mr. Bosh.
"They have a lot of cap space and they have good players," Bosh said. "It's on [management] to see the shining light at the end of the dark tunnel."
“We jumped on them first and they let up,” Toronto guard Jarrett Jack said. “When you start off 0-18, uphill battle is kind of an understatement. You kind of see it on their faces that if they get down early, they’re kind of like ‘Here we go again.’ ”
Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan each scored 16 points, and Hedo Turkoglu and Marcus Banks each had 14 for the Raptors, who had lost four of their previous five games.
Nets guard Devin Harris called it an “embarrassment.”
“We’ve all been a part of these games and it’s not fun,” he said. “I don’t like sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter.”
Toronto spent way too much money on the offseason, have way too much talent to carry a 12-17 record in the ¼ of the season. They have been a fairly consistent offense averaging 104 points per game but their inability to show any effort on the defense event is slowing them down as they try any kind of push.
Playing on the Eastern Conference, a .500 record should allow them a spot on the playoffs however for that to happen they have to start winning games and they have to start right now. The competition this season is tougher than it has been on the past five years and tougher than it sounds. Teams like Miami, Detroit, Indiana, Milwaukee and Washington have a legitimate shot at this point of the season and that picture may not change as it progresses.
Final score: 118-95
If you’re wondering (as we were) why the Raptors are wearing jerseys that say Huskies, this jersey was introduced in December 2009 to commemorate the original team pre-NBA. The Toronto Huskies were a team in the Basketball Association of America (a forerunner of the National Basketball Association) during the 1946–47 season.
I’m still adding photos to the set, which you can view as [thumbnails] or a [slideshow] or in the Pictobrowser below:
However, the Raptors could probably live with Wright’s less than helpful offensive game if he was providing the defense everyone had anticipated. Sadly, he has not.
Wright’s blocks and steals have dropped to his rookie year numbers and his normally poor rebounding hasn’t improved. Wright’s defense has not been good enough to keep him on the floor.
In the past four games, Wright has played a total of 10 minutes of garbage time in the loss to Orlando. And that was on the second night of a back-to-back.
- “This may have been exactly what the doctor ordered for the Raptors: a big-time blowout win. But they key is now trying to bottle what worked against the Nets, and carry it over to the Hornets, Pistons, Bobcats … and beyond.”
- “This kind of effort was expected tonight. Would it have been the same result against another team? Doesn’t matter … cause the effort was there.”
Courtesy Paul Jones and Eric Smith, THE FAN presents highlights (1) and the game recap (2) of a 118-95 romp by the Toronto Raptors over the New Jersey Nets.
The former NBA guard and Toronto Raptor joined Eric on the Raptors/Nets Half-Time Show to remenisce about his old Raptor teammates and assess the current squad.
Check out the Raptors vs. Nets, all in just six minutes!
Jay Triano speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Nets.
Chris Bosh speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Nets.
Jarrett Jack speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Nets.
DeMar DeRozan speaks with the media following his 16-point performance against the Nets on Friday.
Sonny Weems speaks with the Raptors NBA TV crew following his 10-point performance against the Nets.
The Raptors had seven players in double figures. Chris Bosh looked like he could have scored 50 on the Nets if he wanted to, but mercifully scored 16 points in 26 minutes on 7-11 shooting. Rookie DeMar DeRozan had 16 points on 6-8 shooting. Amir Johnson led all scorers with 18 points off the bench.
Chris Bosh, though, was feeling no such emotion. He remembers all too well what it was like to be on a comically awful team. In 2005-06, the Bosh-led Raptors started 5-20.
"Nobody felt sorry for me," Bosh said. "It's part of the gig.
"They're 2-25. I know how that feels. I [was there] about four years ago. That's what I was telling Devin [Harris, New Jersey's point guard.]. He was like, ‘I don't know man, you haven't seen this.' I was like, ‘Yes, I have. I know what it's like. Believe me.' It's tough. It's very unfortunate that guys have to go through that, but they're the only guys that are going to get them out of that hole."
It should be noted that the Nets didn’t really stop anyone in those first 24 minutes, technically. If the Raptors failed to score, it was for one of four reasons: Someone missed a layup; someone missed two foul shots (Andrea Bargnani and Johnson both had 0-fer visits); someone got shoved and the refs just decided to swallow their whistles because the score was already embarrassing; or Marco Belinelli, who looks fated to play for the Nets some day (0-for-5), was taking the shot.
Otherwise, it was target practice for the Raptors.
They had 26 field goals (on 44 attempts, a .591 percentage), and 14 of the 26 were layups or dunks. That gave the Raptors a 34-20 landslide in paint points, though many of them were in transition — they scored 22 points off the Nets’ 16 turnovers.
"It was good pressure defensively that created opportunities for us," added Triano, who said he was pleased with the way the Raptors returned to a more aggressive defensive approach.
After beating Houston at home last Sunday with strong defence, the Raptors were lacking in that area in the road losses to the Heat on Tuesday and the Magic on Wednesday.
Not only did the Raptors hold the Nets to 15 points in the first quarter on Friday, they poured in 39 of their own, while shooting 65 per cent from the field.