Determined Raptors snap Nets' 5-game winning streak

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TORONTO -- The way the Toronto Raptors snapped the Brooklyn Nets' five-game winning streak with a 96-80 win on Saturday showed coach Dwane Casey how much his team is maturing and becoming tougher.

"This is probably the toughest time in January for us," Casey said. "We have so many games, it's a mentally tough time and physically. We've got to stick with it and I thought our guys showed mental toughness, we won a slug-out game, one that I don't know if we could have won a couple of months ago, no less last year."

The Raptors outscored the Nets 28-16 in the final quarter after trailing by 10 points with 4:42 to play in the third quarter. DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Raptors (18-17), who have won two in a row and seven of nine.

"We still had a chance there in the third quarter when they went on a run there and fed off the crowd," said forward Paul Pierce, who led the Nets with 15 points.

The Nets (15-22) showed signs of fatigue late in the game after defeating the Miami Heat in double overtime in Brooklyn on Friday night.

"The last six minutes of the third it was tough on us, it was tough for us to execute," Pierce said. "We were up 10 points and we had a chance to really do some damage. Maybe it was fatigue, I don't know."

Guard-forward Terrence Ross added 14 points and forward Patrick Patterson also had 14 points while grabbing 12 rebounds after coming off the bench for the Raptors.

"He was outstanding," Casey said of Patterson. "He had some man rebounds. He came in and dominated the boards. They're a tough team."

Guard/forward John Salmons added 13 points from the bench and guard Kyle Lowry contributed 12 points.

"It was an important win for us," Lowry said. "They're a divisional team and they've been playing really well right now. We needed to get that win for our confidence and to keep our thing going."

Guards Alan Anderson and Joe Johnson had 13 and 11 points respectively for the Nets.

"The guys tried hard and came up short," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "We came to win a game. We put ourselves in a position to try and win. Sometimes it doesn't go your way but the guys fought."

The Raptors capped a 22-2 run when they scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to lead 74-64 before Pierce hit one of two free throws. Forward Amir Johnson scored on a running bank shot and Patterson made a layup for a 78-65 lead.

After the Nets scored six straight points, Lowry hit a 3-pointer for TORONTO with 4:52 to play, and when Patterson scored four points in a row, the lead was up to 14 to give the Raptors control.

Brooklyn scored the first eight points of the third quarter to go ahead 50-47. Anderson's second 3-pointer of the quarter made it 56-48. Guard Shaun Livingston's jumper bumped the lead to 10.

"It's an NBA game, teams are going to make runs," Lowry said. "I think our group has come to terms with the fact that teams are going to make runs and we just have to prepare for it and embrace it, take and then do our punch back."

Salmons made a 3-point shot with 2:00 left in the third to cut the lead to three. DeRozan put the Raptors into a 68-64 lead when he scored the final seven points of the third quarter.

"We stayed patient, teams are going to make their run," DeRozan said. "We have to stay disciplined and we have to get stops and rebound."

Center/forward Mason Plumlee, who had six points and five rebounds before fouling out after playing 28:20, said that while players are not thinking about it at the time, fatigue might have been a factor after the tough game on Friday.

"I think after the fact, it was pretty apparent guys were a little winded," he said. "We do have more confidence as a group. We've been in different situations, like the Miami game (Friday) night, a close game where we got behind and had to come back."

The Nets cut the Raptors' lead to 26-23 early in the quarter before the Raptors went on a 14-4 surge to take a 13-point lead. Forward Mirza Teletovic hit consecutive 3

-point shots to cut the lead to four with 1:05 to play. Ross answered with a 3-pointer. Pierce hit two free throws to finish the half with TORONTO leading 47-42. Lowry closed the first quarter with his second 3-pointer to put TORONTO into a 24-18 lead.

NOTES: Raptors F Tyler Hansbrough (left ankle sprain) was inactive for the fifth consecutive game on Saturday. ... Nets' 37-year-old F Kevin Garnett did not play Saturday to rest him after he played 36 minutes in Friday's double-overtime win over the Miami Heat. C/F Mason Plumlee made his first career start in his place. ...The Nets recalled F Tornike Shengelia from Springfield of the NBA Development League. He was assigned to Springfield on Jan. 6. ... Nets G Deron Williams (left ankle sprain) missed his fourth straight game. ... The Nets will play the Atlanta Hawks in London on Thursday before returning to New York to play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 20. ... The Raptors complete a three-game home stand Monday vs. the Milwaukee Bucks.

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