160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita USC plays at UCLA on Wednesday. – Matthew Kredell USC point guard Ryan Francis bruised his knee while bumping into a teammate at practice Monday and will undergo an X-ray today as a precaution. Francis, a freshman, is fourth in the Pac-10 with 33 steals and second in assist-to-turnover ratio. Listed as day-to-day, he walked with a slight limp off the practice court.
TweetPinShare0 Shares TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan wouldn’t reveal exactly what was said in the Toronto Raptors’ locker room at halftime with his team down 16 points, though coach Dwane Casey’s message registered loud and clear.The Raptors roared back to beat the Brooklyn Nets 104-99 on March 8 in their first game since the franchise-record, 12-game home win streak ended March 6 against Houston.“It’s was a good one,” DeRozan said of Casey’s rallying call. “It was one that we definitely needed and the way we came out in the second half definitely speaks volumes. He came in and really got onto us and we responded like we’re supposed to.”DeRozan had 25 points, with Kyle Lowry adding 23 points and nine assists in the comeback victory from a 58-42 halftime hole that equaled Toronto’s biggest of the season, done in a loss at Golden State in November.Brook Lopez had 35 points, one shy of his season high, for the Nets, who lost the season series to the Raptors for the first time since 2009-10. Lopez was also the only Net to reach the free throw line, going 9 for 9.“He’s our horse, he’s our guy,” interim coach Tony Brown said. “He had a great game tonight and we try to do as much as possible to get him the ball because he’s one of the few guys who had it going. Hell of game by him and it’s just unfortunate we don’t get the ‘W.’”For Casey, who had emphasized the need for better defense after recent lapses against Portland and Houston, the focus is not good enough for a team that’s challenging for the Eastern Conference lead.“It shouldn’t take me going in at halftime and jumping up and down and challenging them,” he said. “We came out of the second half and that is who we have to be. But we have to start that at the beginning of the game.”The Raptors shot just 3 for 15 from the floor in the second quarter but their defense stepped up after halftime, forcing a 22-9 run to close the third before four 3-pointers in under three minutes at the start of the fourth turned a two-point deficit into a 10-point lead.“That’s a very good team,” Lopez said. “They’re in a great position in the East, they’re definitely contending in the East and contending in the league and we had a good showing. Unfortunately they went on that huge run and we weren’t able to claw quite back into it.”(PAUL ATTFIELD)