The Toronto Raptors were able to overcome a brutal start to the game with a monster second half to complete a comeback win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Fred VanVleet's double-double of 29 points and 11 assists led the charge while Serge Ibaka's 21 points and 12 rebounds held down the paint. Kyle Lowry didn't have his most efficient scoring night, but 20 points in the second half played a huge role in Toronto's big second half.
The Raptors outscored the Nets 73-50 after halftime to leave Brooklyn with a quality win.
For more on the comeback at the Barclays Center, we have you covered with some thoughts on the game below.
1. The Raptors closing the first half strong, carrying that into the second half.
The Raptors couldn't get anything going through the first 20 minutes of this contest but everything changed in the final four minutes of the first half.
Toronto closed the half strong with a 12-0 run that turned a 16-point deficit into a much more manageable four-point deficit heading into the second half. The run was a team effort with Serge Ibaka, Patrick McCaw, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby each scoring one bucket to spark the desperate offence while coming up with consecutive stops on the defensive end.
To get the second half started, Ibaka had a strong and-one finish to make it a 15-0 run, bringing the Raptors within one putting his team right back in the game. This stretch completely changed the momentum of the game, leaving the window open for Toronto to make a comeback.
2. Raptors 3-point shooting
The Raptors started this game ice cold, shooting 1-for-8 from 3-point range in the first quarter. They then went and missed their first two 3-point attempts of the second quarter, getting out to an ugly 1-for-10 start from long range.
Since that moment, Toronto magically found their shooting stroke.
The Raptors finished the game 12-for-22 (54.6%) from beyond the arc, shooting themselves back into this contest.
They shot 10-for-19 in the second half with Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry knocking down four 3s apiece. Once shots started falling, parlayed with Toronto coming up with stops, the Raptors were able to turn the tides on this contest completely.
3. Fred VanVleet changes the game.
It wasn't the prettiest start to the game for anyone on the Raptors, including Fred VanVleet.
Shooting 3-for-8 from the field for just seven points in the first half, he struggled to give Toronto's stagnant offence any help. If not for his turnaround on that end of the floor, the Raptors may have never flipped this game on its head for a comeback win.
VanVleet poured in 22 points in the second half a blistering 8-for-11 from the field and 4-for-7 from deep. He also dished out six assists, finishing the game with a double-double of a team-high 29 points and 11 assists.
The @Raptors win in Brooklyn behind @FredVanVleet's 29 PTS and 11 AST. #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/HrPHSBxh9B- NBA (@NBA) January 5, 2020
4. You need to see this alley-oop from Spencer Dinwiddie to DeAndre Jordan.
This is not as easy as they made this look. The pass from Spencer Dinwiddie is a dime and the fact that DeAndre Jordan could effortlessly convert it as a reverse alley-oop is downright ridiculous.
SPENCER AND DJ DID ANOTHER HALFCOURT REVERSE ALLEY-OOP LIKE IT'S EASY OR SOMETHING 🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/idQCerQY08- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 5, 2020
5. Spencer Dinwiddie deserves your All-Star consideration.
Spencer Dinwiddie has been a savior to the Nets season since Kyrie Irving went down with a shoulder injury.
The 26-year-old guard has taken his play to another level in Irving's absence, averaging 25.7 points, 7.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. He was terrific again tonight, going for 23 points, seven assists and three rebounds.
💨 Spence too quick 💨 pic.twitter.com/utuYz17ru2- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 5, 2020
VOTE FOR YOUR 2020 NBA ALL-STARS HERE!
Dinwiddie might not be the flashiest name on the All-Star ballot, but he is more than deserving of your consideration as a reserve in the world's best pick-up game.
6. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse says Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam will return last.
The Raptors have had some tough luck with the injury bug, losing Norman Powel (shoulder), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Pascal Siakam (groin) in the same game back on Dec. 18 versus the Detroit Pistons.
The injured trio has missed the past nine games with Toronto going 5-4 in that stretch.
Before the start of this game against the Nets, head coach Nick Nurse addressed the team's ailments, stating that if he were to guess, "the order of the comeback would probably be Matt (Thomas) and Norm (Powell), Marc (Gasol) and then lastly Pascal (Siakam) if that's the case."
He continued stating, "we're still a ways away with Marc and Pascal. I think Norm and Matt are in the front-view mirror, let's put it that way."
7. Nets star guard Kyrie Irving may need shoulder surgery
Before the game, Kyrie Irving addressed the media for the first time since Nov. 14 when he started missing games with a shoulder injury. He told the media he's "doing a lot better," but he's struggling to lift his shoulder when taking jumpers.
Irving mentioned he's seen several shoulder specialists and that surgery has been "posed as a possibility," but that he does not have imminent plans for surgery and will continue to be evaluated.
Irving has only appeared in 11 games for the Nets this season, going 4-7 in that span. Since he began missing time, Brooklyn has gone 12-11 and sit in the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
8. What's next for the Raptors?
With today's win Toronto advances to 24-12 sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Next up, they return home to host Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.
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