TORONTO (AP) — On a night when the only thing worth winning was a few extra ping-pong balls for the NBA draft lottery, the Nets wrapped up their New Jersey years with barely a whimper.
Ben Uzoh had 12 points, a career-high 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his first career triple-double, and the Toronto Raptors routed New Jersey 98-67 in Thursday night's season finale, a loss that slightly improves the Nets' chances in next month's draft lottery.
The game marked the final time the Nets played as a New Jersey-based team; they'll move to a new home in Brooklyn next season.
"This is our farewell, for good," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "Now we embark on a new opportunity, and it starts when the clock strikes midnight tonight. Even though we lost this game this is a new era in Nets basketball, and that's what we're focusing on."
Johnson said Brooklyn fans will see a better team next year than this season's 22-44 squad that finished by losing six straight.
"We like a lot of our guys," Johnson said. "We definitely need to upgrade in some areas and that's what we're going to do."
Raptors fans were also told of brighter days ahead. Toronto-born center Jamaal Magloire addressed the crowd before the game, thanking fans for their support in a "turbulent season" and promising a playoff berth next year.
"That's what the plan is, that's where we're going," guard Jose Calderon said. "We know we've got some guys coming. We've got another draft pick and for sure a couple of free agents will be here. I think we're not that far from being a really good team."
Uzoh's triple-double was the first by a Toronto player since Alvin Williams did it against Atlanta on March 23, 2001.
"He had a heck of a game," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "I doubted his point guard skills at times but I just watched a young man grow in his two 10-day contracts."
Johnson also had praise for Uzoh, who played 42 games for New Jersey last season.
"He played hard and he played well," Johnson said. "Hopefully he'll be on an NBA roster next year. He's just such a good kid."
Ed Davis had a career-best 24 points to go with 12 rebounds, Gary Forbes had 23 points and Alan Anderson scored 20 as Toronto snapped a four-game skid and beat New Jersey for the ninth time in 12 meetings north of the border. Solomon Alabi set career-highs with 11 points and 19 rebounds, his first double-double.
Anthony Morrow and Armon Johnson each had 11 points, and Gerald Green and Jordan Williams added 10 apiece as the Nets lost their fifth straight and set a season low for points. The defeat ensured the Nets will finish last in the Atlantic division, one game behind Toronto.
Continue reading this story on the...