Before the Super Bowl, catch the Nets in a divisional matinee against the Raptors

(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

Opponent: Toronto Raptors
Time : 12:00 PM EST
Location: Barclays Center
TV: YES Network
Radio: WFAN

It’s funny how so close can seem so far…

The Brooklyn Nets have led in the fourth quarters of both of its previous games to the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers, but, of course, both ended with the same result — another loss.

It won’t get any easier for the Nets as the Toronto Raptors come into town on Sunday for a divisional contest at noon. It will be the fourth and final time the teams will face this season — with the other three showdowns being anything but kind to the Nets.

The Raptors, thanks to minor injuries to DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, have actually been struggling of late, losing their previous two games to the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic. And, believe it or not, the once powerful Raptors have dropped all the way down to fifth in the Eastern Conference, now trailing those Celtics, Washington Wizards, and Atlanta Hawks as well as the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

However, the Nets often bring out the best in the Raptors, even without their superstars. Last time out, Lowry was out and Cory Joseph took up in place in the starting lineup — good, right? Well, after 33 points on 15-22 shooting later, the Nets were left licking their wounds again.

Additionally, Caris LeVert will miss the game with right knee soreness.

Can the Nets take advantage of the Raptors recent struggles?

3 Things to Watch for in Nets-Raptors:

1. Can the Nets get off to an early start?

Noon games are always a weird one for teams, especially the road team. Most players are usually sleeping at this time and don’t really wake up until the second half. Can the Nets, with their young legs, get off to a quick start on the Raptors? You’ve seen how much better the Nets fare when they don’t have to claw back throughout the second quarter, so a nice start here is key.

2. How will Sean Kilpatrick play on Sean Kilpatrick afternoon?

It’s Sean Kilpatrick’s turn to get a bobblehead — but if they fare like the other giveaway nights, the sharpshooter could be in for a long night. Of course, for the second straight year, Brook Lopez struggled on his Star Wars-themed night and, duh, Jeremy Lin was out injured in his.

Kilpatrick had a rough January, so let’s hope an external factor like this will get him back on the right path.

3. Enjoy some basketball before the game!

What’s better than watching some noon basketball before you get together with your friends and family for the Super Bowl. Maybe you can even brag about a Nets win!

Maybe you can even brag about a Nets win!