3 in the Key - Raptors vs. Nets Gameday Preview: A Titanic Battle

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

It’s an Atlantic Division showdown at the Barclays Center tonight as the Toronto Raptors attempt to lay a marker on the chasing Brooklyn Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets are one of the hottest teams in the association. Jason Kidd’s outfit have rebounded from a poor start to the season and have gone 9-1 in their last 10 outings.

It’s all smiles in Brooklyn - for now - and winning tonight’s game isn’t going to be easy for the Raptors. In fact, the last time these two teams met (on Drake Night if you can’t remember), it was the Nets who looked sharper despite playing the night before. The Raptors were down by double digits in the third quarter, but managed to put a run together that saw them jump out in the lead for good.

Such complacency won’t serve Dwane Casey’s team well tonight.

Here are the three keys to Toronto re-affirming their position at the top of the Atlantic Division.

1) Terrence Ross: How did we get this far without bringing up Terrence Ross? The second-year swingman put up a career-high 51 points on the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night. To give some perspective, his previous career-high was 26. Ross’ aggressiveness was impressive. His shots didn’t seem forced; they mostly came within the flow of the offence. WIth DeMar DeRozan set to miss tonight’s contest Ross should expect a heavier workload.

2) Defence wins .... nevermind: The Clippers are a great offensive team, of course, but the Raptors still allowed them to put up 125 points. Oh, and Chris Paul wasn’t even in the lineup. Toronto has been one of the better defensive teams this season; the Clippers game should look like an anomaly as the days progress. Getting back to the basics tonight would be wise.

3) Go at Deron Williams: This will be the second time Williams is playing on the second night of a back-to-back since coming back from his ankle injury. He did play for 37 minutes in a scrappy win against the Celtics yesterday so it will be interesting to see how Kidd uses Williams. Kidd has brought Williams off the bench sometimes this season to allow Joe Johnson more of a chance to run the offence from the start as Williams attempts to shake off his injury troubles and play well. This is for Kyle Lowry's eyes. If Lowry can get at Williams early it can help turn the tide in Toronto's favour.

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