Advertisement

Barnes's double-double leads Raptors past Nets; Toronto stays alive in play-in chase

TORONTO — Gary Trent Jr. didn't miss any of his shots in the first half but when his Toronto Raptors teammates missed open passes to him in the third, he started to struggle.

A quick talk with head coach Darko Rajakovic turned that around.

"Just pulled me out three minutes into the half and says 'get focused,'" said Trent. "I said 'OK coach, I understand you' and kept pushing.

"That's all I really can say, y'know? Obviously, you see something on the floor I'm all ears."

Trent had 10 points in the fourth quarter — again making all his shots in the period — to lead all scorers with 25 points as the Raptors routed the Brooklyn Nets 121-93 on Thursday to snap Toronto's three-game losing skid.

“I just went out there and played hard, tried to contribute to winning," said Trent, who was 9 for 12 on field goals with five three-pointers and 2 for 2 from the free-throw line.

"We came out of the all-star break and got a win so that was probably the most important thing.”

Scottie Barnes had a double-double with 18 points, 12 rebounds and three assists as Toronto (20-36) tries to slip into the Eastern Conference's play-in tournament.

The Raptors now trail the Nets by 1 1/2 games for 11th in the East, with both teams chasing the Atlanta Hawks (24-31) for the 10th and the final spot in the play-in tournament.

"This was just one game," said Rajakovic. "I still think there is a lot for us to improve and get better at but it was definitely a step in the right direction tonight."

Immanuel Quickley had 24 points and six rebounds, sinking five three-pointers for Toronto. Quickley has made a three-pointer in 27 consecutive games, including all 20 of his games since being traded to the Raptors, tying the longest streak of his career.

"I'm shooting so many, one’s gonna fall eventually," joked Quickley. "Honestly, just staying aggressive and I appreciate the coaching staff staying on me to be aggressive and be who I am, really."

Mikal Bridges scored 21 points as Brooklyn (21-34) dropped its third straight game. Cam Thomas added 19 points.

Toronto went on a 10-4 run to close out the half and expand its lead to 59-48. Trent made all four of his field-goal attempts, including three three-pointers, and sinking his two free throws in the first two quarters.

An 11-2 Nets run opened the third, with Thomas responsible for seven of those points. That cut the Raptors' lead to one point.

Toronto fired back with a 10-0 run, however, capped by rookie Gradey Dick scoring off an offensive rebound. The Raptors maintained that lead for the rest of the quarter, holding an 82-71 advantage headed into the fourth.

Trent's 10-point fourth quarter helped Toronto blow the game wide open. With 4:06 left to play and the Raptors holding a 29-point lead, Rajakovic flushed his bench and put out reserves like Jordan Nwora, Jalen McDaniels, Montreal's Chris Boucher, and D.J. Carton, who signed a 10-day contract with Toronto on Wednesday.

OLLIE DEBUT — Kevin Ollie debuted as the Nets head coach on Thursday. He was given the position on an interim basis after Jacque Vaughn was fired on Monday.

SCHRODER RETURNS — It was Dennis Schroder's first game back in Toronto after the Raptors traded him to the Nets ahead of the deadline. The veteran point guard only spent half a season in Toronto after signing with the Raptors last summer. He finished with four points and two assists off Brooklyn's bench.

"I think Dennis did a really good job when he was with us," said Rajakovic before the game. "I think he brought competitive energy every single night and I think especially the young players could see what it takes to be a player in the rotation and playing every night, how hard it takes to work every night."

UP NEXT — The Raptors visit the Hawks on Friday.

Brooklyn hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves (39-16) on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2024.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press