London ball

Under-equipped nets find a way to fend off the Raptors

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It was a trip to Brooklyn like never before with COVID flexing its muscles and the NBA schedule faltering in the balance.

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The Nets had to wait to see if Kevin Durant’s ankle would allow him to play just to hit the eight-man minimum needed for a game to go through.

It was after a day that started with four Nets, with starters LaMarcus Aldridge and D’Andre Bembry already added to the Nets in league health and safety protocols. About an hour before the report, another starter, James Harden, and a potential starter in Bruce Brown were also added to this growing health and safety list. With injuries that left them with eight healthy bodies.

When the game finally started it was with that bare minimum of eight, the only remaining healthy starters were Kevin Durant and Patty Mills, a fairly recent addition to the Nets from five and only through injury.

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Raptors head coach Nick Nurse wasn’t fooled at all that it would be less of a battle than any other NBA night, no matter how many bodies the Nets had.

Nurse rightly pointed out that any team that had Durant in line with Mills and Harden, who at the time were still playing, was always a puzzle to plan the game for.

Harden, as mentioned, didn’t make the signal, but Durant and Mills were there and that was enough tonight to get the job done as they overcame a tough third quarter with a quarter of their own blowout in a win. from 131-129 in over time.

All the credit, not only to Durant, for his score but also for his game as he voluntarily gave up the ball for much of the fourth quarter with the Raptors blitzing him with several defenders against little-known Nets like rookie Kessler Edwards who was 15 in just the third NBA game of his young career.

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The real difference in the game came from the glass, especially the offensive glass, for the Nets who took down 19 offensive boards, including 13 in the first half with the young Nets crushing the boards and winning shooters like Durant and Mills several second chances.

“I thought in the first half we didn’t do a good enough job of just blocking or pushing,” Nurse said of the rebound issues. Obviously, they had a lot of opportunities, offensive rebounds, took advantage of it. I thought we were pretty good in the fight in the second half. I think of those 19 they had 12 or 13 at halftime, so the first half was not very good. We did a little better in the second half.

Credit the young legs of the Nets roster with a rare chance to play and get the most out of it. Guys like Kessler Edwards shooting 10 rebounds and David Duke Jr. shooting 13 really tipped the scales in Brooklyn’s favor last night.

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But in the fourth quarter and into overtime, it was just about a heavy dose of Durant and Mills that brought this one home for the Eastern Conference leaders.

Durant would finish with 34 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds for his third triple-double of the season. Mills would finish with 29 points.

The Raptors went 9-3 in the final three minutes of regulation just to force overtime.

It was a 9-0 run until Mills broke free with a slight sidestep, then dropped his seventh three-pointer of the night to tie the game at 120.

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The Raptors had a shot at the buzzer in regulation, but VanVleet’s halfway attempt missed the mark, forcing the extra five minutes.

Barnes spent much of the night on Durant and more than held up against the NBA scoring leader, but in overtime it was classic Durant as he single-handedly won this one at home. .

Toronto had one last chance in that home and away game as Barnes rebounded from a Mills miss on his second free throw and walked three-quarters of the field before narrowly missing the bank in his desperate swing.

Fred VanVleet, who else, led the Raptors with 28 points. Two of his starting colleagues – Trent Jr and Siakam had 25 each while Barnes registered with 23.

The Raptors had a nine point lead after three quarters scoring 44 in the frame as the Raptors started to get angry.

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It started with Trent Jr. ending the half as he hit a buzzer beater three against Kessler Edwards, then let the young veteran of both games before last night know he was getting a little too loud. .

At the start of the third, Chris Boucher blocked another rarely used net at Day’Ron Sharpe which had already caused damage inside. Not happy with the block, Boucher followed Sharpe onto the field facing him to make sure the young Nets saw the celebration.

It cost Boucher and the Raptors a technique, but it seemed to charge all the visitors, who then scored 44 points in the frame and took their first semblance of control of the game.

The Nets came back straight into the fourth quarter, knocking off the Raptors ‘nine point lead in the first five and a half minutes of the quarter, taking a one point lead over Mills’ Rainbow Three.

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