The Toronto Raptors fell to the Brooklyn Nets in overtime on Friday, losing by a final score of 106-105.
The Raptors are now 21-6 on the season, still in first place in the Eastern Conference, while the Nets snapped an eight-game losing streak to reach 9-18.
Here are five takeaways from the game.
2nd quarter push
After shooting 31.8 percent from the field and 11.1 percent from 3-point range in the first quarter, the Raptors found themselves trailing by four going into the second quarter.
Five and a half minutes into the second they trailed by 14 - the game's largest deficit - after a 16-3 run from the Nets to start the quarter. The Raptors looked deflated and couldn't get anything to fall until they sparked a 21-7 run to tie the game in just five minutes.
Kawhi Leonard and Jonas Valanciunas led the charge to get things going for Toronto. Leonard had nine points in the run, including hustle plays like this:
Hustlin', hustlin', hustlin' pic.twitter.com/J0U9LsI0Gg- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 8, 2018
Valanciunas also had nine points in the run, showing impressive touch around the rim and aggressively attacking the paint to get to the free throw line.
The Raptors eventually took their first lead since the opening minute of the game but traded baskets with the Nets the rest of the quarter to go into halftime tied 53-53.
They didn't pull out the win but without this push, the game would have never gone into overtime in the first place.
Russell's 3rd quarter and OT, Dinwiddie's 4th quarter
When the Raptors made their push to close the gap, the Nets had to respond coming out of the half - and D'Angelo Russell did just that.
Russell had a monster third quarter to keep his Nets on pace with the top team in the NBA. After scoring eight points in the first half, he scored 15 points in the third quarter alone.
Russell shot 7-for-9 from the field and 1-for-2 from distance to give Brooklyn a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Then it became Spencer Dinwiddie's time to step up for the Nets. He had eight points through the first three quarters, then went on to score eight of the Nets' 18 points in the fourth. He made four of his seven field goal attempts and scored six straight points down the stretch to keep Brooklyn in the game.
Dinwiddie tagged Russell back in for overtime, where he scored six of the Nets' eight points in securing the victory. He finished with a team-high 29 points on an efficient 13-for-22 shooting from the field and five assists.
Dinwiddie, meanwhile, had 17 points and dished out a team-high eight assists in the win.
Plain and simple, the Raptors were out-rebounded on Friday. They allowed the Nets to corral a season-high 60 rebounds, losing the battle of the boards with only 41 rebounds.
The Nets also grabbed 16 offensive rebounds to Toronto's six.
Ed Davis had a game-high 15 rebounds off the bench for Brooklyn and Jarrett Allen had 10 rebounds. Joe Harris' nine boards and DeMarre Carroll's eight rebounds both out-rebounded all players on the Raptors as well.
Toronto has only been out-rebounded in 13 of their 27 games this season, but five of their six losses have came in games when they failed to attack the glass better than their opponent.
Lowry's struggles continue
Kyle Lowry has been on a rough four-game stretch for the Raptors.
He posted a near triple-double in the win over the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 29 with 10 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds but shot 4-for-14 from the field and 2-for-7 from deep. The next game against the Denver Nuggets, he had 11 assists but only scored five points on another poor shooting night.
Lowry sat out the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to back soreness, but did not play well in the win over the Philadelphia 76ers either.
On Friday, Lowry kept his assist numbers up again with 11, but he scored three points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field and 1-for-7 from deep.
Over the last four games he has played, Lowry has shot 21.6 percent from the field (8-37 FG) and 18.5 percent from the perimeter (5-27 3PT). In that span, he is averaging 6.3 points per game.
After the game, Lowry addressed his recent struggles:
Lowry: "I think I'm too passive right now... I'm definitely too passive, but I've gotta figure it out sooner than later because it's been a really, really terrible stretch for me."- Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) December 8, 2018
It's unclear whether his back soreness is the cause of his shooting struggles, but it is absolutely something to monitor going forward. While he is still distributing the ball at a high level, the Raptors are going to need Lowry to find his shooting stroke to continue their early season success.
Kawhi's huge night
Kawhi Leonard did everything he could to earn the Raptors the win.
He finished with 32 points, going 5-for-6 from long range with four assists, four steals, three rebounds and a block.
He had 21 of his 32 points in the second half and overtime, including six points in a row in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter. He scored all seven of Toronto's points in overtime, two of which came on his best dunk in a Raptors uniform thus far:
KAWHI THO! pic.twitter.com/I2jikpfFMf- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 8, 2018
He followed that dunk with a clutch step-back triple to take a one-point lead in OT, then hit another clutch shot in the lane to put the Raptors up with just under two minutes in the extra period.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson played fantastic defence on the game's final possession, forcing the ball out of Leonard's hands leading to a game-winning attempt from Fred VanVleet. With the way that Leonard has been playing lately, it would not have been a surprise to see him knock down a game winner if given the opportunity.
Regardless, Leonard's MVP-caliber performance is encouraging going forward for the Raptors.