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Nets continue to get ‘dominated’ at Barclays

Lose Eighth Straight at Home to Atlantic Division-Leading Raptors

January 7, 2016 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Donning black jerseys with “Los Nets” across the chest, Brook Lopez and the Nets suffered their eighth straight home loss to Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Wednesday night in Downtown Brooklyn. AP photo
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Lionel Hollins isn’t in the habit of prettying things up, not for his players or the media gathered at his post-game press conference.

“It was just overall domination,” Brooklyn’s second-year head coach ceded after watching his struggling, short-handed unit endure an eighth consecutive home defeat Wednesday, this one at the hands of the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors via a 91-74 score in front of 14,544 fans at Downtown’s Barclays Center.

The Nets, perhaps looking to change their fortunes at home, where they haven’t won since toppling the league-worst Philadelphia 76ers on Dec. 10, wore black instead of their customary white jerseys for this one.

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Also, rather than the traditional “Brooklyn” scribed across the front of their shirts, our borough’s NBA franchise rolled out with “Los Nets” emblazoned over their chests.

If things keep going as they have been this season, “Loss Nets” might be more appropriate.

“We need to work through some things,” admitted Brook Lopez, who continued his All-Star worthy campaign with 24 points and 13 rebounds as Brooklyn fell to 10-25 overall, including 6-12 at home, further solidifying its position as the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference.

Playing their second straight game since losing starting point guard Jarrett Jack for the season with a knee injury, the Nets committed 19 turnovers en route to their lowest home point total of the campaign.

The point-guard combination of Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan once again struggled to run Brooklyn’s offense, combining for 11 points, eight assists and five turnovers as the Nets never seriously challenged after pulling within 49-47 on two Lopez free throws with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Raptors (22-15), spearheaded by 22 points and 11 rebounds by center Jonas Valanciunas, responded with a 21-9 run to carry a commanding 70-56 lead into the fourth quarter.

“Defensively we gave up too many easy baskets off bad shots and turnovers,” said Larkin. “We just weren’t making shots tonight.”

Brooklyn shot 39 percent from the floor, 31 percent from 3-point range and was out-rebounded 49-39 by Toronto, including a 12-6 margin off the all-important offensive glass.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 12 points and Thaddeus Young added 11 points and seven boards for Brooklyn, which will try to avert a ninth straight home loss Friday night against the visiting Orlando Magic.

“Just right now we’re out of sync as far as running our stuff and executing, but like I said last game, it’s about finding the right lineups, mixing and matching guys,” noted Young. “Right now, we’re trying to work at it every day.”

The Nets’ season-long malaise is likely to continue if Larkin or Sloan proves incapable of running the team’s customary sets in the half-court game.

“We have to stick together, come out prepared, come out ready,” admitted Lopez. “At home, we need to do a better job of coming out strong.”

Nothing But Net: Coming off back-to-back 20-plus point games, Joe Johnson struggled to connect Wednesday night as he played through a quadriceps injury. The veteran sharp-shooter went 2-for-7 from the floor for five points, but did manage to continue his streak of hitting at least one shot in 919 consecutive games, the longest active run in the NBA. … The Nets and Raptors have split 78 all-time meetings. … Following Friday’s visit by Orlando, the Nets will hit the road Saturday night in Detroit before hosting San Antonio (Monday), the Knicks (Wednesday) and Portland (Friday) here next week. … Brooklyn has won three of its last four on the road. … Jack has not yet undergone surgery on the torn anterior cruciate ligament and small medial meniscus tear in his right knee, suffered during the second half of Brooklyn’s 100-97 win in Boston last Saturday night. Jack was averaging a team-high 7.4 assists per game to go with 12.8 points and 4.3 rebounds.

 


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