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DeRozan scores 26 as Raptors beat Nets 96-80

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 11, 2014 at 10:11 pm •  Published: January 11, 2014
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TORONTO (AP) — Running on empty after a double-overtime win against Miami, Brooklyn's best stretch of the season came to an end at surging Toronto.

DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points, Patrick Patterson had 14 points and 12 rebounds and the Raptors snapped the Nets' five-game winning streak with a 96-80 victory on Saturday night.

Paul Pierce scored 15 points and Alan Anderson had 13 for the Nets, worn out after arriving in Toronto in the wee hours of the morning after playing two extra periods in Friday's big win over the Heat.

"Guys were definitely tired from last night, getting in late," said guard Joe Johnson, who had 11 points for the Nets.

Brooklyn dropped to 1-6 this season in the second part of games on consecutive days.

Terrence Ross scored 14 points, John Salmons had 13 and Kyle Lowry finished with 12 as Toronto won for the seventh time in nine games and strengthened its lead in the Atlantic Division.

"Our guys showed mental toughness and won a slug-out game, which I don't know if we could have won a few months ago," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "It's a testament to our guys' mental growth and mental toughness to win a game like that."

After squandering a 10-point lead in the final minutes of the third quarter, the Nets missed six straight shots at the start of the fourth and went scoreless until Pierce made one of two from the line at 8:10.

"The last six minutes of the third was tough on us," Pierce said. "It was tough for us to execute, we turned the ball over. We were up 10 points and we had a chance to really do some damage. Maybe it was fatigue, I don't know."

Brooklyn guard Shaun Livingston, who played 51 minutes Friday, was 3 for 11 from the field against the Raptors, but said blaming fatigue was the "easy way out."

"It's always disappointing for me, as a competitor," Livingston said. "That's a game I'd like to have back."

Already without injured guard Deron Williams, the Nets gave center Mason Plumlee his first career start in place of Kevin Garnett, who got the night off after playing 36 minutes against Miami. Plumlee fouled out with six points.

While the winning streak is over, Plumlee said the Nets are feeling better about themselves.

"We do have a rhythm, we do have more confidence as a group now," he said.

Livingston agreed, but cautioned against any excess enthusiasm.

"Don't relax," he said. "I think that's the main thing. We won five games but we still haven't done anything."

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