OUT: Brook Lopez for the Nets. About half of Toronto; they’re only suiting ninw players. Notable outs: Amir Johnson was suspended by the NBA for one game for tossing his mouthpiece at a referee. Kyle Lowry has a sore right triceps. Andrea Bargnani has a bruised right elbow. Landry Fields had right elbow surgery. I could go on. There are a lot of Raptors out.
Last time: The Nets beat the Raptors 107-100 in THE FIRST GAME EVER AT Barclays Center on November 3rd. The Brooklyn Chant started that night. It was okay.
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche
Toronto Raptors: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Mickael Pietrus, Ed Davis, Jonas Valanciunas.
Brooklyn Nets (league rank): 104.1 offensive rating (8th), 103.9 defensive rating (21st), 90.97 possessions per game (29th)
Toronto Raptors (league rank): 99.4 offensive rating (23rd), 105.8 defensive rating (26th), 94.51 possessions per game (17th)
Three things to watch:
1) DEAR GOD BROOKLYN PLEASE WIN THIS ONE. The Raptors are bad. They’re awful. They’re missing six players, two of them starters. They’re starting Mickael Pietrus. You’re starting Deron Williams. Don’t let this one slip away. This is a five-game losing streak on the line. If you lose this, this is the ¡first! crisis of the Brooklyn Nets era.
2) The bench mob. The Nets generally run a nine-man rotation by choice. The Raptors are running one by necessity. This is a team where the Bench Mob — no matter who’s playing in it — should have the opportunity to dominate. One important note: Avery Johnson does not play Jerry Stackhouse in back-to-backs, meaning he’ll be off tonight. That likely means more minutes for MarShon Brooks.
3) DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan torched the Nets for 28 on opening night on a variety of midrange jumpers. It’s a good long-term strategy to keep guys on the midrange away from the basket, but DeRozan was also 3-4 from within 5 feet and got to the line 10 times. DeRozan has been this team’s best scorer early, and while he’s no ‘Melo, it would behoove the Nets to contain him tonight.