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Toronto struggles in the fourth, losing 116-103 as Brooklyn clinches a playoff spot

Photo Credit: @Raptors on Twitter

While holding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to a combined 26 points, Brooklyn’s supporting cast stepped up to lead the Nets to a victory tonight against Toronto. With tonight’s win, the Nets have won four of their last five and three in a row as they become the first team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff spot.

The Raptors fought hard on the second night of a back-to-back but just didn’t have enough in them, being outscored 36-20 in the fourth quarter. While holding a three point lead heading into the fourth, Toronto shot 2-10 from beyond the arc in the final frame.

Kyle Lowry scored a game high 24 points, hitting on six shots from deep, while OG Anunoby recorded his fifth consecutive game of 20 points or more. Malachi Flynn and Khem Birch also contributed, each scoring 13 points as Birch grabbed 14 rebounds to record his first double-double with the Raptors.

In a back-and-forth game, Toronto was able to hold Kyrie Irving to only 9 points on 3/13 shooting, his lowest point performance this year. Toronto went on a 24-8 run to lead by 6 with just over nine minutes left after Flynn made a dazzling three-point play over Blake Griffin.

From that moment on, the Raptors got cold and the Nets finished the game on a 32-13 run, being led by much of their bench. Starters Jeff Green and Joe Harris played well, Green scoring a team-high 22 points, while Harris hit on four three-pointers. All three players on the Nets bench were in double-digits, as Brooklyn’s bench was a major factor in the win, outscoring Toronto 38-24 on the night.

Without Gary Trent Jr. and Chris Boucher, the Raptors needed more out of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. The two starters had an incredibly poor offensive night, shooting 6-33 from the field and 3-17 from beyond the arc.

The Raptors continue to struggle, dropping to 2-12 on the second night of back-to-back games. Even with a record of 26-36, the 10th seed is still within reach, only 1.5 games back of the Washington Wizards for the play-in spot.

Toronto will start their four-game west-coast trip on Thursday night against the Nuggets (9PM EST on Sportsnet) before returning home next Thursday for a pivotal matchup against the Wizards.

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