Jeremy Lin has promised that the Nets will compete every night. And even when Lin was sidelined with his hamstring injury, the Nets lived up to the promise most nights. Giving up a talent advantage most nights, the Nets nevertheless tended to claw and compete. Maybe Lin’s return made his teammates think they can relax? Lin returned to the starting lineup against the Raptors — and the Nets took the night off defensively, losing 116-104 in Toronto.
Toronto (20-8) is going to beat the Nets (7-20) most nights on their own floor, even if the Nets give Coach Kenny Atkinson the defensive effort he requires. When they don’t, it’ll be ugly. Brook Lopez being out for rest doesn’t help. But Lin, who scored 12 points on 50% shooting with four assists, admitted: “[The Raptors] just did whatever they wanted… We didn’t play with heart.”