NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — DeMar DeRozan took over as soon as the third quarter started.
DeRozan scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half, leading the Toronto Raptors to a 94-73 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Sunday night.
With injuries playing a role in their 7-14 start, the Raptors received a huge lift from DeRozan. He made eight of 12 shots, and 11 of 16 free throws.
“The key was patience,” he said. “I watched a lot of film and I didn’t want to force a lot of things. Lately we get kind of slow coming out in the third quarter, so I tried to be aggressive and get things going.”
Raptors coach Dwane Casey was impressed by DeRozan’s effort.
“I thought DeMar DeRozan did a heck of a job attacking the basket,” Casey said. “He’s too athletic and too quick to not get to the rim.”
Toronto led 46-41 when it scored 10 straight to go up by 15 points. DeRozan scored four free throws in the run, and Jerryd Bayless scored a couple of baskets.
“The guys played like they believed,” Casey said. “They knew that we were short-handed, so everybody carried their load.”
Bayless finished with 17 points, and the 6-foot-3 guard added six rebounds and six assists. He also spent his 34 minutes playing defense on Deron Williams.
Williams came in averaging 19.4 points, scored 24. But he had to work for them. He made only eight of 20 shots and just three of 10 from outside the arc.
“Coach wanted me to come out and play defense as hard as I could,” Bayless said. “Everybody in the league knows he’s a great player. But I think our defense played its best game of the year, honestly. Ed (Davis) and Amir (Johnson) really helped out and made my job easier.”
The game continued to be easy for Toronto after it build the 15-point cushion. New Jersey never got closer than 11 the rest of the way, and the margin reached 23 at one point.
The result left both teams with records of 7-14, tying them for third place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors put together a 12-1 run midway in the second quarter, going from two points down to nine up at 40-31. They took a 44-39 lead into the half. Bayless led the stretch, driving for one basket and making three of four free throws.
Eleven points by DeRozan in the third quarter really broke things open.
“We didn’t have any energy on either side of the floor,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “(Toronto) came in, they’re a hungry team, and DeRozan had a big night. Unfortunately we just had a bad offense and bad defense.”
Notes: Toronto shot 51.5 percent to New Jersey’s 36.5, and outscored the Nets from the free-throw line 21-12.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.