The Brooklyn Nets lost to the Toronto Raptors 116-102 at Barclays Center Tuesday despite a career night from their franchise point guard. The loss was Brooklyn’s third straight loss to Toronto this season.
D’Angelo Russell had a historic first quarter scoring 24 points on seven-for-eight from three, fueling the Nets to a 40-point quarter. His 24 points were the most for a Nets player in a first quarter since Vince Carter had 24 in the opening frame on April 9th, 2005 against the Boston Celtics, per Elias Sports Bureau. Russell finished the game with 32 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including seven-for-12 from three.
Dante Cunningham got the start for the injured Jarrett Allen who missed tonight’s contest with a sore left foot. Cunningham’s performance was underwhelming to say the least. He could not contain Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas in the paint or on the boards. Valanciunas dominated with 26 points on 12-for-20 shooting and 14 rebounds. Cunningham grabbed only three rebounds and scored eight points.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was a bright spot for the Nets again tonight. The former Arizona Wildcat shot seven-for-11 from the field, good for 19 points off the bench. For the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan had a rather quiet night only scoring 15 points but came alive down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Kyle Lowry had a double-double finishing with 11 points and 11 assists.
The loss drops the Nets to 21-47 on the year and an NBA-worst 3-18 in their last 21 contests. This was Toronto’s ninth straight win. They improve to a remarkable 30-2 against losing teams and 50-17 overall. This year marks the third time they’ve reached 50 wins in franchise history. Dwayne Casey is the only coach in Raptors history to win 50 games as he won 51 last season and 56 two years ago.
Tuesday night also marked the 11th-straight game the Nets have dropped to the Raptors going back to 2015. The Brooklyn Nets’ last win against their Canadian foes came on April third of that year.
The loss also marks the third time this season the Nets have lost to the Raptors. They were destroyed north of the border 120-87 in December. The Nets dropped a close 114-113 overtime decision to the Raptors at home in January. On March 23rd, the teams will meet for the final time, as the Nets will travel to Air Canada Centre with Toronto looking for the season sweep.