The Raptors looked wholly overmatched against the Heat on Thursday night. They couldn’t bust Miami’s zone, they couldn’t hit shots from deep, and they couldn’t quite slow their opponents down on offense. It was the kind of contest that really highlighed how much Toronto misses Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, and Norman Powell — to say nothing of Matt Thomas’ shooting — even if most of the game was a grind-it-out affair. A full roster would go a long way towards calming any doubts we now have about the Raptors.
Fortunately for Toronto, the Nets are in a similar situation. They’re down their two best players — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — and have come to rely on a total team effort once again to overachieve. Unfortunately, they’ve also lost four games in a row and are now 16-17, good for seventh place. They might get a boost tonight with the return of Caris LaVert and Garrett Temple (both listed as probable), or they could just continue to try to grind out wins through effort and execution too. It worked for the Heat against the Raptors, but the talent ceiling in Brooklyn tracks as considerably lower.
Still, the Raps haven’t had the easiest time against the Nets in the past, and this game is in Brooklyn. The Raptors will once again need Kyle Lowry to be at his best, and they’ll need Fred VanVleet, coming off a 3-for-16 night, to be better. It wouldn’t hurt if the rest of the starting lineup also got back into the swing of things, but let’s take this one thing at a time.
Here’s the full Raptors-Nets preview from Joel this morning. Below are the updated game details. Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
TSN at 6pm EST
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Patrick McCaw, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka
Brooklyn — Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, DeAndre Jordan
Toronto — Pascal Siakam (Out — groin), Norm Powell (Out — shoulder), Marc Gasol (Out — hamstring), Matt Thomas (Out — finger), Dewan Hernandez (Out — ankle)
Brooklyn — Caris LaVert (Probable — thumb), Garrett Temple (Probable — knee), Kyrie Irving (Out — shoulder), Nicolas Claxton (Out — hamstring), Kevin Durant (Out — ACL)