The Toronto Raptors felt that rust contributed to a loss in their first game after the All-Star break. They won’t be able to use that excuse this weekend when they face a pair of last-place teams.
The Raptors hope to end a recent run of poor play in back-to-back games and hand the lowly New Jersey Nets a sixth straight home loss Friday night.
Toronto (29-24) went into the break as one of the league’s hottest teams, winning eight of nine to pull within four games of first-place Boston in the Atlantic Division. That momentum was halted in a 109-102 overtime loss to Memphis on Wednesday.
“These are tough games to play because we haven’t played in a week,” Bosh said.
“We got off to a slow start and we were very sluggish,” coach Jay Triano said. “We had a hard time getting it going at all.”
Jose Calderon(notes) led a strong bench effort with 12 points and nine assists, and reserves Amir Johnson(notes) and Sonny Weems(notes) each scored 10 points for the Raptors, who topped 100 for the franchise-record 18th straight game.
“It’s tough because we were playing well at home and these are the types of games we need to win,” Calderon said.
Winning on the road at New Jersey (5-49) shouldn’t be too difficult a task, although Toronto lost the first game of back-to-back sets five times in their last six tries. The Raptors return home to face Washington on Saturday.
Toronto took both matchups at the Izod Center last season, and has showcased tremendous depth in two wins over New Jersey in 2009-10. Seven Raptors scored in double figures in a 118-95 victory Dec. 18 and every starter accomplished the feat in a 108-99 win Feb. 3.
The Nets ended an eight-game skid with a 103-94 win over Charlotte on Tuesday before returning home to lose 87-84 to Miami on Wednesday. New Jersey failed to take advantage when Heat star Dwyane Wade(notes) was lost to a sprained left calf in the first quarter and did not return.
New Jersey led 80-74 with 4:56 remaining before missing 11 of its final 12 shots.