Looking like a guy who had been playing 30 minutes a night all season, Nesterovic finished with a season-high 16 points. You have to go back a little over 15 months to a game last November against Atlanta for a better scoring game by the 12-year veteran. He had 21 that night.
Nesterovic said his success, and that of the team, stemmed from the commitment to making the extra pass — something he said was necessary if the Raps hoped to win.
"That’s the only way you can play once your franchise guy is out," Nesterovic said referring to Bosh. "You don’t really have a go-to guy who will take the team on his shoulders. You have to share the ball and everyone has to be ready."
In addition to the 16 points, Nesterovic had four helpers of his own and seven rebounds to round out a pretty good evening.
Jarrett Jack, who led all scorers with 18, has been in Nesterovic’s shoes before where he’s been asked to come in cold and produce. He, better than most, can speak to how difficult that is.
"It’s actually pretty remarkable," Jack said. "In my opinion, basketball is a game of rhythm and he hasn’t been in the lineup for a while so for him to come in and contribute the way he did is really unbelievable. It’s just a testament to him always being ready when called upon and me giving him the ball."
Guard Jarrett Jack says the big thing everyone is going to have to get used to until Bosh returns is that they basically are playing without the safety net they have had all year.
"When we go some possessions without scoring or putting up some numbers, our normal mindset is let’s run something for Chris," Jack said. "We’ll get it inside and he’s either going to get fouled or score. (Now) we just don’t have that luxury."
Also absent will be the Raptors’ floor director when they are defending their own basket.
Anyone who has sat near the basket the Raptors defend can’t help but have heard Bosh directing his players into spots from his vantage point.
"If you watch the game, or listen, he’s talking a lot," Jack said. "He’s directing, and him being in the back he’s sees everything, so he tends to put a lot of people in the right places."
The game was barely three minutes old and Hedo Turkoglu had already had enough. On the fourth time down the floor, the cumbersome mask that he began the game with somehow msyteriously disappeared. Even after a time out, Turkoglu returned without it.
"Some nights, you just feel it," Nesterovic said after scoring more points in a game than he has since November 2008.
If there were concerns about who would pick up the slack in the absence of Chris Bosh and the 24 points and 11 rebounds he averages on a nightly basis, they were quickly dashed.
Nesterovic had eight of his points in the first quarter as a perfectly running Raptors offence dominated the Nets. Toronto piled up 30 assists on 43 baskets over the course of the game and had an astonishing 21 on 24 first-half scores.
"If we just keep moving the ball, we’re okay," said Triano. "Guys came to the basketball (and) I didn’t see a selfish play tonight at all where someone tried to get their own. Everybody tried to help each other and that’s why you have that many assists."
The only other time that Nesterovic has scored more than 16 points in the last two seasons was a 21-point effort against Atlanta in November 2008, when he was playing for Indiana.
“He came in and didn’t miss a shot, go figure,” Nets guard Courtney Lee said.
“I should have tried to run him up wide or make him put the ball on the floor instead of giving him time to get a good look at the rim,” said Brook Lopez, who led the Nets with 22 points but didn’t guard Nesterovic very well.
Jose Calderon added 16 points as the Raptors dropped the Nets to 5-50. DeMar DeRozan and Hedo Turkoglu added 14 points apiece as Toronto shot nearly 60 per cent from the field in extending its franchise record for consecutive 100-point games to 19.
“Any time your opponent shoots 60 per cent for the game, you’re not going to have much of a chance to win,” Nets interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe said.
Tiger Woods spent 13 minutes saying "I’m sorry" yesterday.
Big whoop. The Nets said "we’re sorry" — in the other sense of the word — for most of 48 minutes last night.
Though Tiger was apologetic, the Nets were pathetic, falling to 5-50 after a 106-89 defeat against the Raptors at the Meadowlands.
"They capitalized on any mistake we made, any double-team," interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe said.
So that was the defense. What about the offense?
"Unfortunately, we had three or four guys who couldn’t throw it in the ocean," Vandeweghe said.
The Toronto Raptors are opening a three-game homestand with Chris Bosh’s status uncertain. With or without the All-Star forward, they might want to try a different game plan against the Washington Wizards.
After overcoming Bosh’s absence to continue their torrid scoring run, the Raptors look to end a three-game home losing streak to the lowly Wizards on Saturday night.
Toronto (30-24) won 106-89 at New Jersey on Friday night, extending its franchise record for consecutive 100-point games to 19. The Raptors shot 59.7 percent, even with Bosh missing the game due to an ankle injury.
Bosh, who was hurt in a 109-102 overtime loss to Memphis on Wednesday night, wasn’t in New Jersey and is listed as day to day. He leads the Raptors with 24.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, both career highs.
Bosh has played in Toronto’s last two home games against Washington (19-33) after missing the previous matchup due to a knee injury. The Raptors came up short in each contest, though the Wizards have been one of the league’s worst teams during that span.
Bosh was one of three players to score at least 20 points for Toronto in a 106-102 home loss to Washington on Dec. 1. Since then, the Raptors have won 15 of 18 at the Air Canada Centre.
Down by 20 early in the third quarter, Harris and the Nets played their best basketball of the night and put together a 30-16 spurt, closing to within 77-71 on a driving layup by the point guard with 1:29 left in the quarter.
New Jersey had a chance to get closer, but a 3-pointer by Jarvis Hayes went in and out.
After taking a timeout, the Raptors scored the final five points of the quarter with Calderon hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer for an 82-71 lead.
Nesterovic had his season high early in the third quarter when he hit a little hook in the lane for a 58-41 lead. When Turkoglu nailed a 3-pointer a minute later, the Raptors had a 61-41 lead.
After the Nets got close, Calderon and Jack put the game away down the stretch.
For the first time all season the Toronto Raptors were without their leader and all-star power forward Chris Bosh. The end result, a victory. Yes, the main factor leading into this was the fact that their opponent was the league’s worst team -the New Jersey Nets -but a large portion of the win can also be accredited to the play of one individual. This individual is a savvy veteran who can always be called upon without any notice, even if he has been riding the pine for the seven games prior to that call.
Yes, I am referring to Rasho Nesterovic. The Slovenian sensation poured in 16 points while pulling down 7 boards to help the Raptors grab their 30th win of the season 106-89 over the New Jersey Nets. Rasho was one of seven Raptors to score in double figures, once again re-iterating the amount of depth Bryan Colangelo built this Raptors team with this year. With the win, the Raptors are able to maintain their distance between the teams in 6th-8th, all of which also picked up a W on this Friday night.
“They tried to be more uptempo, obviously, because they have to make up those 24 points a game (that Bosh averages), so they have to go up and down the floor more,” said Nets center Brook Lopez, whose 22 points led all scorers.
“That’s tough to defend with the lineup they play. They’ve really got some bigs who can shoot the ball, stretch the floor. It’s just tough,” said Lopez, who hit 9-of-12 shots and grabbed eight rebounds. Devin Harris had 19 and 11 assists for the Nets and Courtney Lee had 17.
The Nets’ starting forwards, Yi Jianlian and Jarvis Hayes, were brutal. Yi shot 2-for-13 in the game, both his baskets coming on open dunks, and Hayes was 2-for-10. Both finished with five points, as current owner Bruce Ratner watched from the front row.
"We had seven guys in double figures and seven guys with five field goals each," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "We needed everyone to step up and we shared the basketball well.
"We were able to take advantage of the Nets’ switching. We thought their switching was going to hurt us – and it did – but we were patient and we found a way to move the ball."
The game on a whole featured 27 turn overs and it’s clear why this New Jersey team is looking to challenge the NBA record for fewest wins in a season. Yi Jianlian simply isn’t a basketball player, Jarvis Hayes seems to think he is Steve Kerr despite shooting less than 28% from beyond the arc this season, and this Nets team simply doesn’t have any veterans who can show these young guys how to play. Sure there are some nice peices there but Kris Humpheries is one of the teams elder statesmen and we all know the only skill he has to pass on is how to be a ball hog. For those Nets fans out there…good luck the rest of the year.
In short it wasn’t pretty but the Raptors did what needed to be done. At the end of the season all that matters is the number of wins, not how you won.
- “GREAT roster / game management by Jay Triano tonight. Andrea Bargnani was the only one to log more than 28 minutes (32 for Bargs) … so there should be a lot of rested bodies ready to roll on the 2nd half of the back to back on Saturday night in T.O.”
- “A workman-like effort without Chris Bosh. Nesterovic stepped in nicely without upsetting the apple cart.”
CB4 was out of last night’s lineup with the ankle injury but Toronto still managed to fend off the lowly New Jersey Nets 106-89. Sure it was the 5-49 New Jersey Nets but it was a game that Toronto needed to take especially after their heartbreaking loss to Memphis on Wednesday. Rasho Nesterovic got the call to the starting five and started in place of Bosh and he didn’t disappoint. Rasho Neterovic finished with 16 pts, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and was one of seven Raps to score in double figures.
Toronto maintained control for most of the game until late in the third when Devin Harris scored a layup that got the Nets within six. But Toronto capped off the Nets in the fourth, holding them to just 18 points in the final quarter. The Jarret Jack-Jose Calderon combo continues to impress as Jack finished with 18 pts/10 assists and Calderon finished with 16 pts/3 dimes.
Jay Triano rotated his team regularly, keeping his players fresh and active. One of the great benefits of having Reggie Evans back is that he now gets to give his starting bigs a bit more time to rest. Jose and Jack were solid running the point and neither one dominated the playing time. Hedo got to control the ball a lot more and the bigs didn’t tire out. This also keeps his starters fresh for another game tomorrow. As we know, back-to-backs are not the Raptors strongest area. Jay made the right choices and the Raptors were in total control.
So Bosh may just be in a suit helpless watching like all of us for tonight’s game vs the Wizards. The Raptors will need more of what they got from New Jersey game. The Wizards are a step up the ladder from the 5 win Nets. They are not a major step up but a step none the less. Raptors without Bosh have a much smaller margin of error and need to get production from guys like Bargnani and Turkoglu who combined for 27 in the Nets game. Not great but with the complete team effort it was good enough.