Nets play well, but fall to Raptors in final seconds

TORONTO – Reinforcements are arriving from the injury list just in time for the Nets’ playoff push. Coach Kenny Atkinson increased the playing time for Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe as they came off the bench against the Raptors Monday night at Scotiabank Arena, and Spencer Dinwiddie spoke before the game about his impending return from the operation he underwent to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb two weeks earlier.

But as much as the infusion of talent might help the Nets, it also served to underline the complicated process of working top players back into the rotation. The new player who made the biggest impact was Marc Gasol who had 11 fourth-quarter points in his first Raptors home game since being traded from Memphis before star Kawhi Leonard banged in the winning jumper with 4.2 seconds left in a 127-125 victory over the Nets.

The loss was the fifth in the past six games for the Nets (29-29), who dropped to .500. They got terrific performances from D’Angelo Russell (28 points, 14 assists, six rebounds) before he missed a potential winning three-pointer at the buzzer and Joe Harris, who totaled 24 points on 7-for-8 three-point shooting. Crabbe performed well in his third game back with 22 points, including a pair of threes that tied the score at 120, but in his second game back, LeVert scored only six points on 3-of-11 shooting.

Leonard topped the Raptors (42-16) with 30 points, Serge Ibaka had 18 and 12 rebounds, Pascal Siakim added 17, and Gasol finished with 16 points.

Dinwiddie was upbeat about his surgery and claimed to have a target date in mind for his return although he’s not allowed to discuss it per team policy. However, the recovery period generally is considered to be three to six weeks by outside medical experts, and Dinwiddie admitted surgery was timed to take advantage of the upcoming All-Star break when the Nets go eight days between games while he heals.

The only drawback is he can’t defend the Skills Challenge title he won last year on All-Star weekend. “In this situation, that was part of the thinking because using All-Star break, obviously we get an extra week of healing an extra week of not missing games,” Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie acknowledged that he played with the injury for at least two months and aggravated it on several occasions, but the good news is that the injury didn’t require a full reconstruction.

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“A reconstruction would have been using my wrist as a graft, but I was able to have them repair it with the native tissue,” Dinwiddie said. “That’s one of the things we obviously wanted to avoid for sure. By all accounts, successful surgery.”

Even with LeVert and Crabbe back in the lineup after long absences, the Nets rested DeMarre Carroll with left knee soreness and Jared Dudley still is in the process of coming back from hamstring and likely will wait until after the break. …read more

Source:: Daily times


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