Raptors end season at home against fellow-lottery team Nets

The Sports Network
4/26/2012 4:08:59 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Toronto Raptors will end their season at home tonight against the New Jersey Nets. The Raptors are playing out the string and will miss the postseason for a fourth year in a row. The Raptors and Nets are tied in the standings at 22-43.

Toronto has lost four straight and eight of 10 games, and is coming off Monday's 92-86 setback to Milwaukee in which James Johnson led the way with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Gary Forbes and Linas Kleiza scored 15 points apiece in a reserve role for the Raptors, who went 0-3 on the road trip.

"All and all, we were in the game until the end," said Toronto guard Ben Uzoh. "We fought, and we went down fighting."

The Raptors will try to improve their 12-20 home record tonight. Guard Jose Calderon (lacerated eyebrow) is doubtful and has missed the last six games. He is averaging 10.5 points and 8.8 assists. Toronto already put leading scorer Andrea Bargnani (calf) on injured reserve. The center averaged 19.5 points in 31 games this season.

Meanwhile, the Nets will head north of the border for the final game of the 2011-12 campaign taking on the Raptors. The Nets have lost five in a row and are missing out on the playoffs for a fifth straight year.

New Jersey was last in action on Monday in its final game in the Garden State, dropping a 105-87 decision to the Atlantic Division-rival Philadelphia 76ers. MarShon Brooks led the Nets with 18 points, while Kris Humphries added 16 points and 12 rebounds for New Jersey, which honored some of its former players at halftime such as Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson and Kerry Kittles.

"I think it finally hit me during the course of the game that this was it, with us playing here in New Jersey," Nets head coach Avery Johnson said. "Great fan support tonight. They came out, they cheered us on, and our guys just ran of gas in the fourth."

The Nets compiled an NBA record of 1186-1635 (.420) while in New Jersey. They were without All-Star point guard Deron Williams (calf) for a fourth straight game and he is questionable Thursday. Williams will be a free agent at season's end and he is expected to test the market.

New Jersey is 13-19 as the visitor this season. The team will play in Brooklyn next year.

Tonight's meeting between the Nets and Raptors is the fourth of the season with New Jersey holding a 2-1 lead. Toronto has won eight of the last 12 encounters with the Nets, losers in eight of 11 trips to ACC.

Linas Kleiza (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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