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Next Man Up, Cory Joseph

coryjoseph

January 17th 2017

Raptors 119 Nets 109

The old cliché of the next man up was on full display last night at the Barclays Center. With Kyle Lowry out for rest the Raptors did not skip a beat as they handed the Brooklyn Nets their league worse 11th straight defeat.

 

Cory Joseph stepped into the starting line-up and filled in for Lowry. He scored 33-points on 15-22 shooting from the floor. His scoring output was surprising to some but according to the Raptors all-star DeMar Derozan this was expected. “That’s what Cory can do, that’s not surprising to us.”

 

With Joseph starting that meant someone else had to fill the back up point guard role and once again the Raptors had someone who played that role well. Fred VanVleet had 10-points on 4-6 shooting. The rookie was very productive with his minutes on the floor.

 

The Raptors are 2nd overall in the Eastern Conference with a 28-13 record. Games like this is what separate the good teams from teams that struggle. The Raptors did not know they would be without Lowry until minutes before the game. He warmed up but coach Casey made the decision to rest him tonight against the Nets.

 

“We don’t want to let any games slip, especially when things are so close in the Eastern Conference.” – Cory Joseph on the team’s mindset coming into the game.

DeMar Derozan was 3-14 from the floor at the half however he did not let that deter him. He opened up the third quarter with three consecutive buckets and began to really heat up.

 

Derozan knew the Nets would focus on him more defensively with Lowry being out but he was aggressive and very crafty around the basket. He had some daring drives to the basket even with Brook Lopez on him. He finished the night with 36-points on 13-28 shooting and he was flawless from the free-throw line as he shot 10-10 from the stripe. He also added 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal showing that he can contribute in many different ways for his team.

 

“ We threw the kitchen sink at him.” – Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson

 

The Nets were not the only ones defending Derozan however, there was someone heckling him in the crowd, which really seemed to get him going, especially in the 3rd quarter. He could be seen looking in the direction of the fan every time he scored.

 

For the Nets it was the same story, they were very competitive in the first half they even led 61-58 at the break. In the first half we saw the Nets sharing the ball as they had 13 assists and shot 53% from the floor. They were getting easy shots for each other and more importantly for Brook Lopez who dominated his match-up against Jonas Valanciunas. Brook had 19-points at the half while holding Valanciunas scoreless.

 

Brook finished 28-points and 8 rebounds; on a night where he was dominant and engaged the team just cold not compete with the Raptors. Caris LeVert gave the Nets a big spark off the bench he had 14-points and 4 assists, 10 of those points came in the 3rd where he went on a one man scoring streak toward the end of the period.

For the Nets this loss brings their record to 8-33. The Nets have to look for ways to not get sucked into losing their confidence. The one thing they do every night is compete. They must continue to play with confidence if they want to pick up some wins. They are still without Jeremy Lin; his absence is a major factor into some of their offensive woes in second halves of games.

 

The Nets head out on the road for their next game as they head out to New Orleans for a rematch with the Pelicans on Friday January 20th.

Thank You for reading

Sherman Gomez is a staff writer for PureSportsNY

Follow him on Twitter: sherman@shermangmz1

Instagram: dash_nathan

All videos and photos courtesy of Sherman Gomez for PureSportsNY

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