Nets search for answers to shooting slump in quick turnaround in Toronto

Photo courtesy YES Network

Time: 7:30 p.m. EST  

Where: Air Canada Centre

Watch: YES Network, FOX Sports GO

Listen: WFAN 101.9, 660 AM

Photo courtesy YES Network

The Nets get an opportunity to bounce back Friday night after getting beaten 111-104 at home against the cross-town rivals Knicks on Thursday. Despite no Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis being unable to finish the game, the Nets took poor shots down the stretch.

Career-highs from both Spencer Dinwiddie (26) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (25) felt wasted as Brooklyn shot below 30 percent from three for the second game in a row. The Nets connected on just 12-of-42 attempts, with usual three-point gunners Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe being the worst offenders (1-of-7 showings from each).

While the Nets have a chance to get back on the winners board quickly in the second half of a back-to-back, they draw a matchup up against the 18-8 Toronto Raptors. The Raptors this season hold an impressive 8-1 record at home, with their only loss coming at the hands of the Washington Wizards in early November.

Defense will once again be a test for Brooklyn, as the Raptors have won seven of their last eight games, scoring over 110 points in six of them. They are ranked sixth in the league for three-point attempts with about 32 per game but are most dangerous because they are efficient when they get the ball in the paint.

The Raptors are ranked third in the league for two-point field goal attempts with 55.7 percent efficiency, behind only Golden State and Houston, thanks to players like Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan, who has perfected the art of the midrange and is averaging 25.9 points per game over the last 15 days.

There was optimism surrounding the Nets recently as they clawed their record back towards .500, and with the Nets acting as the underdog tonight, they might have a chance to get closer to that mark.

Three things to watch for

1) DeMarre Carroll

Friday’s matchup will be Carroll’s first game back in Toronto after the Raptors packaged him with a lottery protected first round pick, along with a second rounder, to get rid of his salary. Since Carroll has played in Brooklyn, he has been tremendous and a real source of veteran leadership for the Nets, especially with Trevor Booker gone. He will be keen to put forward a good showing.

#DeMarreRevengeGame, anyone?

2) Three-point shooting

As alluded to earlier, the Nets have shot a collective 22-of-85 from behind the arc in their last two games, good for 26 percent. Those are not exactly healthy numbers for a team that relies so heavily on its production from three-point range.

The law of averages says the Nets will start to hit more of their open looks because they will not stop shooting them. The Raptors have let opponents shoot 35.8 percent from three this year (ranked 10th in the NBA), so anything close to that would be a better adjustment and give the Nets a chance.

3) Jahlil Okafor

#JahlilOkaforWatch is a standing agenda item until he sees his first minutes. The second leg of a back-to-back may be an opportune time for #FreeJah, as long as Kenny Atkinson is happy with the readiness of Okafor to pick up the sets and positively impact the team.

Look out for whether he is able to get off the bench and do what we know he can do, get buckets.