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Schroder leads Nets past Raptors 96-88 |


TORONTO – Dennis Schroder’s return to Toronto was supposed to be an opportunity to get revenge on his former teammates, but his return was overshadowed by off-court issues affecting the Raptors.

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 in Toronto after was traded to the Nets before the NBA trade deadline on February 8.

“We played the same play over and over again throughout the sequence and Dennis made sure the ball got to the lane, (Trendon Watford) got to the lane,” said the Washington head coach. Nets, Kevin Ollie. “I always say it’s the eye of the hurricane.

“All the distractions are flowing, but can you be the eye of the hurricane and they did that today.”

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Schroder received a warm welcome from Toronto fans when he was announced during pre-game introductions, even though he had only played half a season for the Raptors, having signed with the team as a free agent during the offseason.

Watford collected 19 points and seven rebounds off the bench as Brooklyn (27-45) ended a six-game losing streak.

“I’m just confident in the work I’ve done and I’m just ready to take this opportunity,” Watford said. “I’m just being who I am and I’m just trying to get this win, the most important thing.”

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

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Media outlets reported an hour before the announcement that Raptors backup center Jontay Porter was under investigation by the NBA for prop betting irregularities involving him. Porter has been on Toronto’s inactive list since Saturday for “personal reasons.”

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His absence was part of the large number of players unavailable for the Raptors. Star forward Scottie Barnes (broken left hand), center Jakob Poeltl (torn ligament in left hand), swingman RJ Barrett (personal reasons), point guard Immanuel Quickley (personal reasons), forward Chris Boucher (partial MCL tear) and guard DJ Carton (sprained right ankle) was also out.

“It’s easily the most changes, the most changes, the most things happening, personal levels, injuries,” Toronto veteran forward Garrett Temple said. “This is easily, I guess you could say, the craziest season team I’ve been a part of in terms of all of that, all of those plays, all of those things that are happening.”

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

Rajakovic said Barrett and Quickley were on a daily basis.

“They are currently being reconditioned,” he said. “We’ll take it day by day and see, as a group, if they (when they are) will be physically and mentally ready to join the team and play.”

Trent hit a 27-foot three-pointer with 5:24 left in the first to give the Raptors their first lead of the game. It was as close as it got in the quarter, with Brooklyn holding a 22-20 lead at the end of the period.

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Watford had 11 points coming off the bench in the second quarter as the Nets increased their lead. Brooklyn built a 49-45 advantage at intermission, outscoring Toronto through the first two quarters.

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

It was only the hosts’ second lead of the game, with the 18,376 fans at Scotiabank Arena cheering and roaring as the game unfolded.

Toronto reserve forward Jordan Nwora hit a jump shot on the next possession, but Dorian Finney-Smith drilled a shot as the Raptors entered the final quarter with a 69-68 lead.

A 7-1 run early in the fourth restored Brooklyn’s lead. An 8-0 run in the final 3:39 of the fourth period, 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 assists. The previous record (2,085) was set during the 2018-2019 campaign, when Toronto won the NBA championship.

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

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Brooklyn visits the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

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

&copy 2024 The Canadian Press


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