April 24th, 2024

Barnes’s double-double leads Raptors past Nets; Toronto stays alive in play-in chase

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press on February 22, 2024.

TORONTO – Scottie Barnes had a double-double to power the Raptors past the Brooklyn Nets 121-93 on Thursday to snap Toronto’s three-game losing skid.

Barnes finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and three assists as Toronto (20-36) tries to slip into the Eastern Conference’s play-in tournament.

Gary Trent Jr. led all scorers with 25 points, including five three-pointers. Immanuel Quickley had 24 points and six rebounds, sinking five three-pointers.

Quickley has made a three-pointer in 27 consecutive games, including all 20 of his games since being traded to the Raptors, tying the longest streak of his career.

Mikal Bridges scored 21 points as Brooklyn (21-34) dropped its third straight game. Cam Thomas added 19 points.

Toronto now trails the Nets by 1 1/2 games for 11th in the East, with both teams chasing the Atlanta Hawks (24-31) for the 10th and the final spot in the play-in tournament.

Barnes and Trent both had eight points in the first quarter as Toronto built an early 30-21 lead. Barnes also had five rebounds in the frame, as did centre Jakob Poeltl, with the Raptors having led by as many as 14 points.

Toronto went on a 10-4 run to close out the half and expand its lead to 59-48. Trent did not miss a shot in the first two quarters, making all four of his field-goal attempts, including three three-pointers, and sinking his two free throws.

An 11-2 Nets run opened the third, with Thomas responsible for seven of those points. That cut the Raptors’ lead to one point.

Toronto fired back with a 10-0 run, however, capped by rookie Gradey Dick scoring off an offensive rebound. The Raptors maintained that lead for the rest of the quarter, holding an 82-71 advantage headed into the fourth.

Trent scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter as Toronto blew the game wide open. With 4:06 left to play and the Raptors holding a 29-point lead, head coach Darko Rajakovic flushed his bench and put out reserves like Jordan Nwora, Jalen McDaniels, Montreal’s Chris Boucher, and D.J. Carton, who signed a 10-day contract with Toronto on Wednesday.

OLLIE DEBUT – Kevin Ollie debuted as the Nets head coach on Thursday. He was given the position on an interim basis after Jacque Vaughn was fired on Monday.

SCHRODER RETURNS – It was Dennis Schroder’s first game back in Toronto after the Raptors traded him to the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the deadline. The veteran point guard only spent half a season in Toronto after signing with the Raptors last summer.

“I think Dennis did a really good job when he was with us,” said Rajakovic. “I think he brought competitive energy every single night and I think especially the young players could see what it takes to be a player in the rotation and playing every night, how hard it takes to work every night.”

UP NEXT – The Raptors visit the Hawks on Friday.

Brooklyn hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves (39-16) on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2024.

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