Time: 6 p.m. EST
Where: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network, FOX Sports GO
Listen: WFAN 101.9, 660 AM
The Brooklyn Nets have shown they are a resilient group of guys. They’ve been riddled with injuries since the start of the 2017-18 season and have managed to win a respectable 11 games.
On Friday night, fans saw the Nets lose that resilient edge. Whether it be fatigue, the absence of DeMarre Carroll and Jarrett Allen or a combination of both, the Toronto Raptors steamrolled the Nets.
The Raptors’ backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan showed why it is one of the best in the business. Lowry got his second triple-double of the season with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, while DeRozan tallied 31 points on 14-of-19 shooting from the field. That resulted in a 120-87 victory for the Raptors, their eighth straight home victory.
The Nets will now face a much improved Indiana Pacers team, led by the rejuvenated Victor Oladipo. Nate McMillan has his team tied for a four-spot in the Eastern Conference, something not many people saw coming.
But, people should have seen this coming. The Pacers have a deep rotation with players who have proven they can still perform at a decent clip. Oladipo is blossoming into the player people thought he would be when he was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, but he was never a bad player by any stretch.
Oladipo has also been accompanied by the promising frontcourt of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, along with former Nets Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic. The chemistry of the team will put the Nets to the test.
Three things to watch for
Today’s matchup will be the first time Bogdanovic will play in Barclays Center as an opposing player. It has been nearly 10 months since the Nets decided to deal Bogdanovic to the Washington Wizards for the draft pick that would become Allen.
It was a smart trade for the Brooklyn Nets, as they acquired a player that might stick around for years to come, but it was a little bittersweet to see Bogie go. He was fun to watch, a fantastic scorer who could light up a scoreboard pretty quickly.
I would still do the trade 10 times out of 10, but it is good to see Bogdanovic back in Brooklyn.
The free throw line has not been kind to the Brooklyn Nets this season. They’re shooting 73.8 percent from the charity stripe, which places them at 24th in the league in that category.
One of the positives taken away from Brooklyn’s performance against the Raptors was its shooting from the line. The team shot 16-of-19, and that could prove to be the difference in some games. If the Nets start capitalizing on free points, one can expect them to be more competitive down the line.
Jahlil Okafor looked a little rusty in his Nets debut on Friday. The ball was sticking to him too often in a free-flowing offense and he did not look entirely comfortable just yet in Kenny Atkinson’s system.
On the other hand, Stauskas put up a great performance in his Nets debut. He was on fire, and he looked confident in each shot he took. To the casual fan’s eye, Stauskas was just a throw-in for the Okafor trade, but he might prove himself to be more than that.