But Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Toronto looked anything but desperate in a 97-85 loss to the New Jersey Nets on Friday.
"We have to approach it like we are a desperate team every night," Casey said. "This was a great lesson for us. I thought we were feeling good and happy on the farm. I thought New Jersey did a great job of coming in and playing like a desperate team and we did not."
The Nets led by one point after the first quarter, were up by eight at the half, bumped it to 11 after three and led by as many as 21 during the fourth quarter.
"We still have a long way to go," Casey said. "I've said it all week we have a ways to go in changing our mentality, changing our approach and keeping it consistently."
It was only the Nets second win of the season and they secured it by outscoring the Raptors 28-8 in second-chance points.
"They had 28 second-chance points and that's a sign of not being physical in the paint," Casey said. "That goes back to us not playing like a desperate, hungry team."
Deron Williams scored 24 points and added nine assists for New Jersey. Anthony Morrow added 24 points of his own for the Nets (2-6), while DeShawn Stevenson chipped in with 15.
Former Raptor Kris Humphries had 16 rebounds to go with six points.
Jose Calderon led the Raptors (3-4) with a season-high 19 points and added eight assists.
Andrea Bargnani added 17 points for Toronto, while Rasual Butler and Ed Davis each scored 11.
DeMar DeRozan was held to three points on 1-for-6 shooting from the floor and was limited to 4:03 of playing time in the fourth quarter. Gary Forbes took over from him.
"DeMar had a rough night," Casey said. "I was looking for some juice, searching for some offensive points."
In Wednesday's win over Cleveland, Bargnani scored 31 points and DeRozan scored 25, including a career-high five three-pointers.
"We're not good enough to turn it on and turn it off," Casey said.
Casey admired the work of the Nets in keeping Bargnani to nine points, including none in the second quarter, over the final three quarters after the power forward had eight points in the first quarter.
"The Nets did a heck of a job," said Casey. "I thought Kris Humphries did a good job. They were tag-teaming with Humphries and Shelden Williams did a good job. Those guys came out and were just being physical and getting into him."
The Raptors still limited the Nets to just under 39 per cent in field-goal percentage but allowed them to hit better than 48 per cent (15-for-31) on three-point shots.
"A lot of mistakes," Calderon said. "We got lost in transition. They hit a lot of threes and got second-chance points, so it's about us. We didn't have it today. We had a game plan that was great but we didn't execute it the way we were supposed to."
Friday's game was the beginning of seven in nine days for the Raptors, who play in Philadelphia on Saturday. Toronto plays back-to-back games three times during that stretch.
"We needed this, especially going into the next couple of games," DeRozan said. "We have to get out minds back on track and understand what we have to do. We can't ease into games, we have to jump on them from the back end as well."
Notes: Attendance at Air Canada Centre was 16,771. Raptors guard Jerryd Bayless was not in uniform because of a sprained left ankle that has him listed as day to day. ... The Nets were without guard MarShon Brooks (sprained left ankle) and forward Damion James (sore right foot). ... Humphries, who missed the previous two games with a sore left shoulder, started at power forward. ... Nets' centre Mehmet Okur left the game after 3:18 in the first quarter with back spasms and did not return. ... Raptors forward Linas Kleiza is close to returning from right knee surgery performed last Feb. 1. ... Blue Jays Brett Lawrie, Rick Romero, Casey Janssen and J.P. Arencibia and former Blue Jays Duane Ward and Pat Tabler tossed souvenirs into the stands during a second-quarter time out.