Raptors beat tanking Nets, 98-67
By Mike Ganter, QMI AGENCY
|The Toronto Raptors beat the New Jersey Nets Thursday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, despite benching DeMar DeRozan (left), Jose Calderon (centre) and Jamaal Magloire. (STAN BEHAL/QMI AGENCY)
TORONTO - The New Jersey Nets came up with eight players they were willing to play Thursday night.
The hometown Raptors found nine.
The NBA has to find a way to ensure the incentive is to win games, not lose them as it appeared in the season finale.
And this is not a Toronto/New Jersey thing either. This is every team in the lottery looking to secure a better chance in the draft lottery.
It has been happening for weeks with some teams. And you can’t blame the teams for doing what could be in their own best interests.
Granted the difference between a win or a loss at this point in the season is mere percentage points in the draft lottery, but teams aren’t willing to give up on even the tiniest advantage possible.
It has to be the league that comes up with a system that ensures the game is not made a mockery of as teams come up with lame justifications to keep players out of the lineup and thereby enhance the chances of a loss and better lottery odds.
Kris Humphries hasn’t missed a game since Feb. 22. He has missed three all season but sat out his fourth of the year Thursday with what the team is calling a bruised right big toe.
The Raptors responded in turn, or at least appeared to, by sitting down DeMar DeRozan with an ankle injury that has been lingering for a while but had yet to cost him any court time.
All of it was a complete farce.
The Raptors were doubling the Nets by halftime. By games’ end Toronto was a 98-67 winner.
Don’t count Alan Anderson among those disappointed with the circumstances. Anderson at 29 and having been signed for the remainder of the year after two 10-day contracts has no guarantees for next year and the game was another opportunity to show his stuff. He responded with a season high 20 points.
Ben Uzoh went Anderson one better going off for a triple double with 12 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, the first triple double for a member of the Raptors since Alvin Williams did it in March of 2001.
Good for Anderson. Good for Uzoh. But that doesn’t change the fact that the league has to do something about all this deplorable tanking.