Raps feast on lowly Nets

Raptors DeMar DeRozan goes to the basket against Nets Brook Lopez during an NBA basketball game in...

Raptors DeMar DeRozan goes to the basket against Nets Brook Lopez during an NBA basketball game in Toronto Dec. 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

If there is a better tonic for a struggling basketball team than a visit from the New Jersey Nets, these eyes haven't seen it.

As bad as the Raptors have appeared at times this year, never have they looked as incompetent and incapable as the Nets did last night.

And while the Raptors can use any confidence boost thrown their way, the concern has to be that they start believing it can be as easy as it was last night.

The 118-95 final actually masked how pathetic the Nets were.

Only a 35-point fourth quarter by the visitors with the game well out of reach and the Raps starters glued to the bench kept this one from getting as ugly as the Raptors season lowlight in Atlanta a few weeks ago.

Even so, the players on both teams knew how lopsided this one was.

"Pitiful. Horrible, horrible effort. Awful," began Nets forward Chris Douglas-Roberts. "Everything about it from the beginning, there were no signs. I didn't take anything positive from this."

Amir Johnson probably summed up the night best.

"I guess you could say we really came out strong tonight and really put the points and really put them in the dirt," he said.

With the Raps up by 18 and just over nine minutes gone in the game, they set the tone for the remainder of the night with plays on consecutive possessions.

First it was Sonny Weems feeding DeMar DeRozan a lob that was so wide open, DeRozan was able to flub the original pass, make the necessary correction and still flush it.

Twenty seconds later, after another unfruitful trip down the floor for the Nets, Jarrett Jack flew down the court on a fast break and without missing a beat, tossed a blind, behind-the-back pass to a driving Johnson who finished with a running dunk.

Nets head coach Kiki Vandeweghe had no choice but to call his second timeout of the quarter at that point but it did nothing but temporarily slow down the onslaught.

The Nets have two wins so far this year but after last night's loss find themselves behind the pace of the worst regular season in NBA history. That would be the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, which went 9-73 but won their third game in their 27th game of the season which is where the Nets were after last night.

Seven different Raptors made it into double figures in scoring, led by Johnson with 18 off the bench. Every starter with the exception of Jack, who had nine assists, was in double digits with the scoring evenly spread among them. Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani sat down early with the game well in hand with 16 each. Ditto for Hedo Turkoglu and DeRozan who had 14 each.

About the only part of the Raptors game that didn't get better last night was the shooting of Marco Belinelli. He was a woeful 3-for-19 from the field in his past three games and while he finally did convert a breakaway layup in the third quarter, he finished the night still struggling with a 2-for-9 evening from the field.

Douglas-Roberts, a player who elicited some interest from the Raptors in draft workouts two seasons ago, returned from a three-game absence to lead the Nets with 16 last night.

About the only thing the woeful Nets could do was follow Vandewegh's lead and hope the game was an aberration.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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