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Nets 94, Raptors 88

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors were short-handed, but it was the Brooklyn Nets who came up short for the first half of their game at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.

However, the Nets took advantage the Raptors' situation in the second half. Joe Johnson scored 19 of his 23 points after the break, and Brooklyn came away with a 94-88 victory.

The Nets ended their five-game losing streak, while the Raptors dropped their sixth game in a row. Toronto lost all five games of a Western swing before returning home for Wednesday's game.

C.J. Watson came off the bench to score 16 points for the Nets, who also got 14 points and nine rebounds from Andre Blatche. Deron Williams added 12 points, and Kris Humphries had 11. Reggie Evans finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Ed Davis led Toronto with a career-high 24 points, and he added 12 rebounds. Jonas Valanciunas added 15 points and DeMar DeRozan 11 for the Raptors. Jose Calderon contributed 10 points and 15 assists.

A combination of injuries and a suspension left the Raptors with nine players, and it began to show in the third quarter.

Brooklyn outscored Toronto 31-19 in the third to overcome an eight-point disadvantage and take a four-point lead into the fourth quarter.

With Watson hitting two 3-pointers and Johnson scoring seven quick points including one 3-pointer, the Nets had an 80-68 lead with 8:18 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Nets were up by 15 with 5:28 to play after Blatche scored on a layup.

Toronto cut the lead to four with 17 seconds left on a hook shot by Davis, who then hit a free throw. The Nets went ahead by six, but John Lucas scored to bring the Raptors to within four points with 3.9 seconds left.

Johnson hit two free throws to give the Nets their final margin.

The Raptors have lost 12 of their past13 games. The Nets had won five in a row before their losing streak.

The Raptors led by eight at the half, and DeRozan, who was held to two first-half points, scored the opening points of the third quarter to make the lead 10.

The Raptors were up by 11 before Williams and Johnson hit consecutive 3-pointers to cut the lead to 53-48 with seven minutes to play in the third quarter.

Watson's 3-pointer had the Nets to within one point with 3:18 to play in the third. Johnson hit another 3-pointer to put Brooklyn into a 60-58 lead with 2:27 left in the quarter. The Nets led 68-64 after three quarters.

The Raptors outhustled the Nets early in the game, and they led 27-20 after the first quarter and 45-37 at the half.

Notes: The Raptors' injury list keeps growing with Andrea Bargnani (right elbow), Linas Kleiza (right knee) and Kyle Lowry (right triceps) joining Landry Fields (right elbow) and Alan Anderson (left foot) on the sideline for Wednesday's game. ... Amir Johnson also missed Wednesday's game as he served a one-game suspension for his ejection in the Raptors' loss at Portland on Monday. ... Toronto rookie forward Quincy Acy was recalled from Bakersfield of the NBA Development League, where he was assigned on Dec. 6. His flight was scheduled to arrive in Toronto at 5:45 p.m. and he was rushed to the ACC. ... The Nets were coming off a loss to the New York Knicks on Tuesday and were again without center Brook Lopez (right foot) on Wednesday. ... Nets coach Avery Johnson said before the game that the team had to do a better job of getting back on defense to compensate. ... Nets forwards Evans (2009-11) and Humphries (2006-09) and assistant coach Popeye Jones (1996-98) all played for the Raptors. Nets assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo was a Raptors assistant coach in 2010-11.

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