When: 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network, Fox Sports GO
Listen: 101.9 FM, 660 AM
The Brooklyn Nets are coming off a tough loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday night and have a chance to redeem themselves against the Toronto Raptors. Toronto has been on a tear recently by winning eight straight games, including ending Houston’s 17-game winning streak. The Raptors’ most recent performance was a 132-106 win over the Knicks where no starter saw the court for more than 30 minutes, so they will be well rested. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have been playing their best basketball together and seem to be LeBron James’ biggest hurdle to make his seventh straight finals.
The Nets do not match up well with this team — they thrive in the mid-range and give no separation to opposing ball handlers. The teams’ last matchup was a tightly-contested game that Toronto ended up winning in overtime. The Raptors showed that there are kinks in their armor and that they can be defeated, but it is not easy.
This will be a tough matchup for the Nets, but with no playoff aspirations in sight, small moral victories like snapping the best team in the East winning streak might mean something.
Three things to watch for
Jakob Poeltl has been a solid big in the rotation for this Toronto squad, and his ability to stretch the floor and bruise in the paint will likely be a problem for Brooklyn’s second unit. The Nets just recently gave minutes to Jahlil Okafor, but they have gone stretches with Dante Cunningham where he has been the biggest player on the court, and that will not work with the second-year Austrian big.
D’Angelo Russell is starting to play some of his best ball of the season and if his high-level of play can continue, the Nets still have potential to close the year strong. D-Lo did not score in the fourth quarter Sunday, but other than that he played a well-rounded game that was encouraging. If Spencer Dinwiddie and D-Lo can find some chemistry, that takes the Nets to the next level.
Can the Nets find a first-half rhythm?
The Nets are second in the league in second-half scoring, and that makes sense. The Nets’ constant model of falling behind in games and fighting their way back further validates that stat. If the Nets want to win this game they have to get off to a good start and keep Dwayne Casey’s offense at bay.