Brooklyn Continues its Winning Ways Versus Raptors

Brooklyn extended its winning streak to seven games after topping the Toronto Raptors, 113-106 at Barclays center on Tuesday. The Nets had five players in double figures. Brook Lopez had 22 points and nine rebounds. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each scored 21 points. The top reserves for the Nets, Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic accounted for 24 points off a Brooklyn bench that scored a season-high 40. 

Teletovic has earned his bread and butter as a prolific offensive player, but his surprising versatility as a passer and team defender makes him a valuable asset to the Nets, who improve to 9-1 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo and are within 1 and 1/2 games of the Knicks for the Atlantic division lead. For the third straight game, Brooklyn got off to a slow start. The Nets trailed by as much as 10 in the opening quarter and were down by four at halftime before turning things around in the second half. Brooklyn’s resurgence has validated the firing of head coach Avery Johnson.

The team’s malaise in December was a clear sign that the Nets needed a new voice. Carlesimo has provided that “new” voice and the Nets are playing better basketball because of it. Will the Nets’ recent success help Carlesimo become the long-term solution at head coach? Time will tell. As things stand now, Carlesimo is the head man for the Nets, who hope to keep up their winning ways against the Atlanta Hawks in a home-and-home series, beginning in Atlanta tonight. Wednesday’s game will be Joe Johnson’s first in Atlanta since being traded from the Hawks during the offseason.

Injury Note: Gerald Wallace sat out a second game with bruised ribs.

Correction: In my post recapping the Nets-Pacers game I said Indiana was a game better than the Nets for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. With the win over the Pacers, Brooklyn trails Indiana by only 1/2 game for third place, not sixth, in the Conference.

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