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Irving has 29 points to lead Brooklyn Nets over the exhausted Toronto Raptors 112-98 ” Alaska

TORONTO — Nick Nurse’s raspy voice Wednesday night pretty much summed up the Toronto Raptors’ current struggles.

TORONTO — Nick Nurse’s raspy voice Wednesday night pretty much summed up the Toronto Raptors’ current struggles.

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points in his third game after his suspension, and the Brooklyn Nets won 112-98 over the undermanned Raptors.

With numerous key players either ill or injured, Nurse said it was difficult to summarize his team’s performance.

“Listen, let’s not get too crazy here. This is a really good, motivated team with a lot of goalscorers and shooters and our boys aren’t feeling great,” said the Toronto manager, who sounded like he wasn’t either feel good

“A couple of our boys…are still sick. We’ll learn what we can learn and just try to regroup. We have a day off tomorrow and we just hope the boys come back.”

Gary Trent Jr. scored 19 points to lead the Raptors (9-9), who were missing both Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes and half a dozen others. OG Anunoby finished with 15 points, while Thaddeus Young and Chris Boucher each had 12 points, and Jeff Dowtin Jr. and Juancho Hernangomez each had 10 points.

Nic Claxton added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Brooklyn (9-10).

Injuries and illnesses continue to mount for Toronto. The news that VanVleet was traveling with a non-COVID illness surprised reporters before Wednesday’s tip. Trent Jr. and Boucher missed Saturday’s loss in Atlanta through illness.

“We know we’re short-handed, but we don’t make excuses, so we know we could have played better,” said Anunoby. “We could have played harder on defense and played better on offense… we felt like we could have played better.

And then there are the injuries. Barnes (sprained knee) and Dalano Banton (sprained ankle) sat out the game. Also missing were All-Star forwards Pascal Siakam, Precious Achiuwa and Otto Porter Jr., all of whom were out through injury, leaving the Raptors with nine players against Brooklyn.

“The guys who got to play, it should help them next time after they haven’t played for a bit…get some of that, get their legs under them, get some stamina back,” Nurse said.

The beleaguered Raptors played well in the first half and were just a point behind at the break, but they ran out of gas against a full-strength Nets team.

The Nets led 91-76 early in the fourth quarter, and when Irving’s 26-footer fell 4:42 to play, Brooklyn went up 20 and hundreds of fans donned their coats and headed for the exit.

“That’s what we want from him,” Ben Simmons said of Irving. “Just be yourself, have the confidence to come out and take those shots and be who he is. He’s an incredible player, an incredible teammate.”

Irving was booed during team introductions. The embattled guard had been serving an eight-game ban for posting a link to a documentary containing anti-Semitic material.

The Nets sped to an early 12-point lead with a cutting dunk from Durant and extended it to 15 points with Edmond Sumner’s running reverse layup with 47 seconds left in the first quarter. The Nets led 38-26 to start the second.

Toronto opened the second quarter on a 13-0 run and took a point lead when Young scored on a putback from Trent’s missed jump shot. The Nets took a seven-point lead before the Raptors ended the half with a 6-0 run interrupted by Anunoby’s huge dunk over Kevin Durant. Brooklyn went into halftime with a 52-51 lead.

The Nets extended their lead to 17 points over Claxton’s dunk midway through the third quarter.

MR. 1,100

The game was #1,100 of Young’s career. Among active players, he is fourth on the list of all-time NBA games played, behind LeBron James, Andre Iguodala and Chris Paul.

RAPTOR’S RED CARPET

The Toronto Argonauts received a standing ovation as they entered Center Court with the Gray Cup. The Argos upset the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a thrilling 109th Gray Cup by 24-23 on Sunday. Canada’s women’s basketball team also attended the game.

TIP INS

Drake caught a few looks as he sat on the sidelines in a furry cream coat with two teddy bears sewn into the front. Longtime broadcaster Jack Armstrong wore the mantle for part of the game and no doubt elicited a few laughs from viewers.

NEXT UP

The Raptors host the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 23, 2022.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

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