Nets pick up fourth straight win in victory over Raptors

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) and forward Nic Claxton (33) and Toronto Raptors forward Christian Koloko (35) jump for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

The Nets win never seemed to be in doubt on Friday night at Barclays Center, even as the Toronto Raptors closed the gap late n the fourth quarter. 

Brooklyn had set season highs for first-quarter points (41) and points in a half (72) and picked up their fourth consecutive victory with a 114-105 win over Toronto. The night served as a breakout night for Joe Harris, a 27-point night for Kyrie Irving and in his first game in two years, T.J. Warren played as well as one could have hoped. 

“It ended up really being the difference in the game,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Our ability to be focused and kind of, we talked about it before, you know who was going to hit first. We decided to hit first and it was like multiple things. Whether it was the rebounded piece, which we took care of the first quarter.

“The pace that we played with. Sticking to the game plan be in positions to help each other on the drive. So overall, really good approach to the game and we got rewarded for it.”

The Nets spread the scoring out with six different players hitting double digits, which included Warren’s 10 off the bench. Brooklyn dominated across the board shooting 53.7% from the field as a team and 34.4% from three-point range. 

The home side also held the edge in fastbreak points, 18-8, and a 32-30 advantage in defensive rebounds. 

Brooklyn had held large leads throughout the night, including a 36-point advantage over the Raptors at one point. The Nets had a 41-17 lead by the end of the first quarter as the Raptors looked out of sorts, especially in the opening 12 minutes. 

“They just try all types of stuff and I think we just stay poise through it all,” Durant said about the Nets’ success against the Raptors. “I mean, we used to Teams throwing all types of defenses at us, so you know, we go through it in film.  Practice it, so we was able to hit the extra pass tonight. We made some great looks. We had 27 misses, but I felt we could have had 35, 36 with the amount of shots that we missed that were open. We just stay patient when they start to swarm.”

Brooklyn Nets guard Edmond Sumner (4) defends against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, in New York.AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

Aside from his game-high in points, Irving finished the night shooting 10-for-17 from the field along with five assists and two steals. Kevin Durant and Harris each contributed 17 points, Nic Claxton had 15 points along with a team-high nine boards and Royce O’Neale ended with 11 points and 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. 

Warren shot 5-of-11 from the field in 16:38 of playing time in his first game as a Net. It was a momentous moment for Warren to check in during the game after missing an extended period of time due to injury. 

“A lot of emotions into it. Definitely super excited just to be out there,” Warren said. “What a win. … It was a good team win. Nothing better than just coming out, being out there and contributing to a win. So just grateful for that. Teammates did a great job just making the game easy and just not so complicated for me. I’ve been out for a while so it just kept me confident. Kept me locked in, excite on both ends of the floor. So definitely something to build on.”

For more Nets coverage, visit amNY.com and our affiliate site at TheBrooklynGame.com

The Raptors rattled off 11 straight points to pull within 110-103 after Scottie Barnes’ dunk with 37 seconds left.

Durant was then fouled on the next possession and hit a pair of free throws. Anunoby missed a 3-pointer and Seth Curry knocked down a pair of free throws to seal the victory. 

The associated press contributed to this report