Published March 10, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors look to distance themselves from the Brooklyn Nets in the Atlantic Division standings when the two teams collide Monday at Barclays Center.
The Raptors are four games ahead of Brooklyn for the division lead and have won two of the first three matchups this season, including a 104-103 triumph in the Empire State on Jan. 27.
Monday's game should be an exciting one for how close the Raptors and Nets are in the Eastern Conference standings.
Toronto will end a quick road trip against the Nets and posted a 111-104 victory Sunday in Minnesota, as DeMar DeRozan led the way with 25 points and Kyle Lowry followed with a triple-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
"Kyle and DeMar down the stretch really turned it on," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "Kyle's triple-double was huge for us. We needed all of his assists, all of his buckets and all of his rebounds."
Terrence Ross, Amir Johnson and Steve Novak all scored 15 points for the Raptors, winners in three straight and nine of 11 games. Success beyond the 3- point line aided the Raptors, who sank 14-of-24 from long distance.
Novak was 5-of-6 beyond the arc.
"They shot the heck out of it from 3," said Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman. "It's a game we just didn't do enough to win."
Toronto is 17-14 on the road and unbeaten in three straight as the guest. They are third in the East standings -- one game ahead of Chicago and four in front of Brooklyn -- and will start a three-game homestand Wednesday versus Detroit, Memphis and Phoenix.
Brooklyn is sixth in the conference standings and 1 1/2 games behind Washington. It will shoot for a seventh straight win at home with the Raptors in town and handed the Sacramento Kings a 104-89 defeat Sunday.
Former King Marcus Thornton scored 27 points off the bench and Joe Johnson added 18. Deron Williams ended with 10 points and seven assists for a Nets team that shot 53.2 percent and scored 28 points on 25 Sacramento turnovers.
"It's always fun to play your former team and see your homeboys," said Thornton, "but my job was to focus on getting this win and we did."
The Nets have won five of six and 11 of their last 16 games, and have a 19-11 record at Barclays Center this season. They will visit Miami and Washington in the middle of the week.
Nets veteran Kevin Garnett is still nursing a back issue and is questionable Monday versus Toronto. Garnett hasn't played since Feb. 27 at Denver. Paul Pierce (shoulder) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) are both questionable as well and left Sunday's game.