Casey: Raptors need to regain 'fight'

TORONTO -- Two nights after scoring just 75 points in their loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Toronto Raptors were thoroughly handled by the Brooklyn Nets, falling 109-93 Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre. "We have to get back to the drawing board and be the team we have been the last two weeks," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said, referencing his team's recent six-game winning streak.

"That didn't just happen by osmosis. That's who we are, and we have to get back to that. For whatever reason, we've lost that, we've lost that work ethic, that fight, that grit, that grind, and we have to get back to that."

The Raptors (33-17) suffered their first Atlantic Division loss of the season (9-1) but still lead the Nets (20-28) by 12 games in the standings. And yet, their past two performances might be cause for concern. The Raptors allowed the Nets to shoot 49.4 percent from the field -- including 9-for-19 from 3-point range -- and were outscored 60-42 in the second half.

With 1:02 remaining, frustration appeared to set in. DeMar DeRozan shouldered Bojan Bogdanovic on the fast break and was ejected after being assessed a flagrant 2. It is possible that DeRozan could face punishment from the NBA for his actions.

"Nah, it was just a hard foul," DeRozan said. "They had got it going. They got to rumbling like they were the No. 1 team in the East. I just wasn't going to let them get away with anything."

Since Jan. 1, the Raptors are 9-9. Over that span, they are giving up a whopping 105.7 points per 100 possessions (26th in the NBA) and shooting only 32.2 percent from beyond the arc (20th). For them to lock up the No. 2 seed in the East -- and, more importantly, for them to make a deep playoff run -- those numbers have to be better.

"It's that time of the year where guys are a little bit fatigued," said All-Star starter Kyle Lowry, who went scoreless over the final 24 minutes after dropping in 13 points in the first half. "But we have to find a way to win games and find a way to put our stamp on games.

"It's a sense of frustration because we're losing games that we're capable of winning. We know where we want to be and where can be, and when we lose games like this, it's always difficult to swallow."

Added Casey: "We want to outscore people, and you're not going to win too many games in this league by doing that."

The Raptors now embark on a stretch in which they face eight consecutive opponents with a winning record.

"We have to play with a chip on our shoulder, honestly, and with a sense of urgency," DeRozan said. "We have no choice but to automatically correct things we know how to do. It didn't happen, and we have to get back to that."

With Drake in attendance, the Raptors failed to take care of business against the team that eliminated them in the first round of the playoffs last season. The Nets have won two straight games, making yet another stride as they look to come together as a group. They are 5-20 against .500 or better teams -- their latest victories over the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto adding to the total.

Ex-Raptors Jarrett Jack and Alan Anderson totaled 46 points against their former team, as the Nets overcame a combined 8-for-26 shooting performance by Brook Lopez and Deron Williams rather easily.

"As I told the coaches, it's very humbling to see your team start to get it," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said.

After the game, the two "rivals" traded barbs on Twitter: