Five Takeaways: Raptors backcourt puts in an all-star performance

Eric Smith and Michael Grange discuss how Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan played on the last night of NBA All-Star voting, as the Raptors won 112-100 against the Nets on Monday.

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Brooklyn Nets 112-100 at the Air Canada Centre. Here are Donnovan Bennett’s five takeaways from Monday’s game.

Rock the #NBAVote

Kyle Lowry was the best player on the floor with 31 points on 10-of-13 shooting and 7-of-9 from three-point range.

DeMar DeRozan chipped in with 30 points on 15-of-25 shooting; the vast majority of which were tough shots.

It’s crazy that this is the first time DeRozan and Lowry have both scored 30 or more points in the same game. What was even more impressive was the duo combining for 13 assists and just one turnover.

They are going to need an assist from Raptors fans using #NBAVote to make up ground and become starters in the All-Star Game as Monday is the last day to cast a ballot.

If DeRozan and Lowry aren’t voted in, surely the highest-scoring backcourt in the East deserves to get in as reserves as they’ve carried the Raptors thus far.

Halfway there

The Raptors close out the first half of the regular season the way they started it, winning five straight games.

Despite a heavy road schedule, an overseas trip, and prolonged injuries to two starters, the team is in a great position.

If someone had said in the off-season that the Raptors would be 26-15, good enough for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, and sixth overall in the NBA, most Raptors fans would be ecstatic.

D better late than never

The defence was non-existent in the first half but stifling in the fourth quarter.

The Raptors’ eight consecutive stops in the fourth quarter were where the game was won. The Nets only had seven field goals and shot 36.8 per cent with five turnovers in the final frame. Toronto scored 31 points on 60 per cent shooting and only had one turnover in that span.

Terrence Tomahawks

Terrence Ross had a few thunderous fastbreak dunks that energized the entire building. What is important to note is those opportunities in the open court came from bringing energy on defence.

Ross has struggled solely settling for threes in the half court but his improved defence of late has created chances to be a factor running the floor, which is a promising sign.

Hard work at home

Although they started their seven-game homestand with a win, there is still tough work ahead for the Raptors.

The next three games are all against teams whose records are above .500, are currently in a playoff position, and are playing well at the moment.

Toronto does have a day of rest in between each game against Boston, Miami, and the LA Clippers which they’ll need after they looked jet lagged to start their first game back from their trip to Europe.

Super stat – LeBron James finished -35 in the Cavs 34-point loss to the Warriors. Both are the worst outputs of his career. The Raptors move to three games back of Cleveland in the East standings.

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