TORONTO — There hasn’t been a whole lot of fun in the Brooklyn Nets’ season so far. The way Jarrett Jack sees it, that’s starting to change.
Jack scored 24 points, Alan Anderson had a season-high 22 and the Nets beat Toronto 109-93 on Feb. 4 to hand the Raptors their first loss in 10 games against Atlantic Division opponents this season.
Joe Johnson scored 12 points for the Nets, who won their second straight after losing five of six. Brooklyn posted back-to-back wins for the first time since a three-game run from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2.
“This is the fun part of the season — the unknown,” Jack said. “You never know when all those hours of practice or film sessions, when they’re really going to come together and materialize and you’re going to hit that stride where you start playing consistent, positive basketball. Hopefully this is the stride for us.”
Playing for the second time since missing 11 games with a rib injury, Deron Williams scored 11 points in 33 minutes to help Brooklyn avoid its first four-game road losing streak since December 2013. The Nets had not won away from home since Jan. 16 at Washington.
“As I just told the coaches, it’s very humbling to see your team start to get it,” Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins said. “You fight them, you fight them, you’re yelling, you’re coaxing them, you’re hugging them, you’re doing all kinds of stuff and then all of a sudden a light comes on and they start playing for each other and believing in each other and it’s showed in the way we’ve played for the last couple of games.”
Brooklyn, which has scored 100 or more in a season-high four straight games, is starting to play with belief.
“Our confidence is improving game after game,” center Brook Lopez said. “We have a different energy about us.”
Anderson reached double digits in scoring for the second time in four games since being inserted into the starting lineup. “He’s really getting a chance to shine right now,” Lopez said.
Terrence Ross scored 23 and Kyle Lowry had 13 points and 10 assists for the Raptors, who dropped their second in a row after winning the previous six.
“We have to get back to the drawing board and be the team we have been the last two weeks,” coach Dwane Casey said.
DeMar DeRozan scored 13 points but was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul on Bojan Bogdanovic with 1:02 left, knocking the Brooklyn swingman down with a hip check as he drove to the basket. DeRozan put his hand up and walked straight to the locker room.
“Tonight was just frustrating,” DeRozan said.
Brooklyn led 76-72 to begin the fourth, but Anderson padded the lead by making three free throws and adding a slam dunk.
Tyler Hansbrough hit a pair at the line for Toronto, but Jack was fouled on a 3-pointer and made them all, putting the Nets up 84-74 with 10:16 left.
Toronto’s Patrick Patterson scored on a layup at 8:18 to cut it to 91-82 but Jack made a jump shot, Mason Plumlee hit two free throws and Bogdanovic hit back-to-back 3s, putting the Nets up 101-82 at 5:05 and sending many in the sellout crowd of 19,800 heading for the exits.
“There’s a sense of frustration because we’re losing games that we know we’re capable of winning,” Lowry said. “When we lose games like this, it’s always difficult to swallow.”