April 23rd, 2024

Schroder leads Nets past Raptors 96-88; Toronto backup investigated by NBA

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press on March 25, 2024.

Brooklyn Nets guard Dennis Schroder (17) drives to the net past Toronto Raptors guard Ochai Agbaji (30) during second half NBA basketball action in Toronto, Monday, March 25, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO – Dennis Schroder had 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds to lead the Brooklyn Nets past Toronto 96-88 on Monday as the Raptors found themselves mired in a gambling investigation.

It was Schroder’s first game back in Toronto after being traded to the Nets ahead of the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 8.

Trendon Watford had 19 points and seven boards off the bench as Brooklyn (27-45) snapped a six-game losing skid.

Gary Trent Jr. scored 18 points as undermanned Toronto (23-49) dropped its 11th game in a row. Javon Freeman-Liberty added 15 points.

Media reports came out an hour before tipoff saying that Raptors backup centre Jontay Porter is being investigated by the NBA for irregularities on prop betting involving him.

Porter has been on Toronto’s inactive list since Saturday for “personal reasons.”

His absence was part of a large number of players unavailable to the Raptors. All-star forward Scottie Barnes (left hand fracture), centre Jakob Poeltl (left hand torn ligament), swingman RJ Barrett (personal reasons), point guard Immanuel Quickley (personal reasons), forward Chris Boucher (partial MCL tear), and guard D.J. Carton (right ankle sprain) were also out.

Barnes, Barrett and Quickley were all on Toronto’s bench on Monday. Barrett, from Mississauga, Ont., has missed six games as his family mourns the death of his younger brother.

Trent drained a 27-foot three-pointer with 5:24 left in the first to give the Raptors their first lead of the game. That was as close as they would get in the quarter, with Brooklyn holding a 22-20 lead at the end of the period.

Watford had 11 points off the bench in the second quarter as the Nets added to their lead. Brooklyn built a 49-45 advantage by intermission, outscoring Toronto in both of the first two quarters.

The Raptors recovered a tipped pass then quickly swung the ball around the arc to find a wide-open Bruce Brown in the corner. He paused to gather himself as the Nets’ defence recovered, before swishing a three-pointer for a one-point lead with 1:48 left to play in the third quarter.

It was only the second lead of the game for the hosts, with cheers from the 18,376 fans at Scotiabank Arena building to a roar as the play unfolded.

Toronto reserve forward Jordan Nwora hit a jump shot on the next possession but Dorian Finney-Smith tipped in a shot as the Raptors went into the final quarter with a 69-68 lead.

A 7-1 run early in the fourth re-established Brooklyn’s lead. An 8-0 run in the final 3:39 of the fourth, with Schroder scoring four points and adding an assist, put the game out of reach for Toronto.

HELPING HAND – The Raptors’ 23 assists against Brooklyn set a single-season franchise record of 2,086 total assists. The previous record (2,085) was set during the 2018-19 campaign when Toronto won the NBA championship.

SCHRODER RETURNS – Schroder received a warm welcome from Toronto fans on Monday when he was announced during pre-game introductions despite only playing half a season for the Raptors, having signed with the team as a free agent in the off-season.

“I think that he did a great job with us,” said Rajakovic before tipoff. “I thought that he was competitive, that he was bringing edge in every single game and that’s something that I respect and value a lot.”

UP NEXT – The Raptors host the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

Brooklyn visits the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2024.

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