Raptors rediscover offense, beat slumping Nets 121-102

Raptors rediscover offense, beat slumping Nets 121-102
Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9) goes to the basket between Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) and guard Joe Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — Fred VanVleet had 29 points and 11 assists, Kyle Lowry scored 26 points and the Toronto Raptors bounced back from their worst offensive performance of the season to beat the slumping Brooklyn Nets 121-102 on Saturday night.

Serge Ibaka finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors. They were held to season lows for points and shooting in their 84-76 loss in Miami, when they hit just 31.5% overall and went 6 for 42 from 3-point range (14.3%.)

They started slowly in this one but got back into it with a big finish to the first half before their guards — who both hit five 3-pointers – carried them in the second half for another win in what’s been a one-sided rivalry.

Toronto made 13 3s and beat Brooklyn for the 17th time in 18 meetings.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points for the Nets, who dropped their fifth straight. They had a 16-point lead in the second quarter but gave almost all of it away by halftime.

Caris LeVert returned after a 24-game absence following right thumb surgery and scored 13 points in 16 minutes off the bench.

The Nets shot 61% in the first quarter and were 6 of 10 from 3-point range to open a 33-24 lead. They were controlling the play in the second, pushing the lead to 52-36 on Taurean Prince’s 3-pointer before a sloppy finish to the period. Toronto scored the final 12 points to trim it to 52-48.

Brooklyn had 16 turnovers in the half, leading to 20 points.

VanVleet then scored 14 in the third to keep Toronto ahead until it went into the fourth leading 83-80. Lowry’s 3-pointer with 9:08 to play triggered a 15-5 spurt that turned a two-point lead into a 100-88 cushion midway through the period. They blew it open for good later in the fourth.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Coach Nick Nurse predicted that the order of return for his injured players would be Matt Thomas (broken finger), Norman Powell (left shoulder), Marc Gasol (left hamstring) and Piascal Siakam (groin). They were hurt in mid-December. … There was a video tribute for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson after the first quarter. The forward averaged 9.9 points in four seasons in Brooklyn.

Nets: Kyrie Irving missed his 23rd straight game with a right shoulder injury. He said he recently had a cortisone shot that he hopes will allow him to play but may need surgery. … Brooklyn played the first of 10 games at Barclays Center this month. That’s the most home games the Nets play in any games this season and matches their most home games in January, done in 1996 and 2016.

UP NEXT

Raptors: Host Portland on Tuesday.

Nets: Visit Orlando on Monday.