Drake Night was a rousing success off of the court and DeMar DeRozan made sure it was on the hardwood as well Saturday. In front of an amped up, noisy sellout crowd, the Raptors put more distance on second-place Brooklyn in a 96-80 win. The Nets came in on a five-game winning streak, but minus a resting Kevin Garnett, tired down the stretch, a night after beating Miami in double-overtime. DeRozan led the way with 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Kyle Lowry added 12 points and six assists and Patrick Patterson and John Salmons, who both came over in the Rudy Gay deal, were superb as well. After a somewhat ugly, but evenly-played first half, the Nets stormed out of the break on an 18-3 run and appeared to have control, until DeRozan exploded, scoring seven straight points to close the third frame. DeRozan yelled and flexed in front of Drake, the Toronto-born Grammy winner, who went wild and later pointed to his own bicep after the triumph. “Just trying to win,” DeRozan said of his particularly expressive post-play behaviour. In all the Raptors went on a 21-2 run to gain control and Lowry, again playing like an all-star, slammed the door shut with a stellar fourth quarter as the Raptors improved to 18-17 and moved four games in front of the Nets. There was a major buzz in the building for the anticipated event. “We need it like that every night,” Lowry said of the screaming supporters. Franchise head honcho Tim Leiweke invited Drake into the team’s video room after the game and was overheard joking that he and general manager Masai Ujiri should each kiss a Drake bicep because the night was such a success.
Toronto Raptors beat Brooklyn Nets on Drake Night
Toronto Sun | Jan 12