The Brooklyn Nets aren’t exactly running away with the Eastern Conference right now, finding themselves behind the Sixers and battling with the Bucks for second place. Still, given their obvious offensive firepower, they’re not a team with which to trifle. As it happens, fortunately, the Raptors aren’t not known for being deferrential, even now in something of a waning season by their previous recent standards. This means we could be in for something of a game.
The book on tonight will not be whether the Raptors can stop the Nets — any team with Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant can’t really be stopped on a basketball court — it’ll be whether Toronto can score enough to win. Throughout the season, though the team’s defense has looked shakey at times too, the biggest issue for the Raptors has been their offense. Sometimes the shots don’t drop, sometimes the half-court sets don’t work, and sometimes their star players find it difficult to get anything going. It’s made for some frustrating outcomes — particularly in fourth quarters.
Last Tuesday night, none of this was a problem. Fred VanVleet scored a franchise-record 54, Kyle Lowry had a triple-double in the process, and Norman Powell popped in with his fifth straight 20+ point game. In fact, the vibes were so good it really did feel like the Raptors had turned some sort of corner for the season. Tonight, they’ll again be without OG Anunoby (who would have been useful against Durant) [Update: Durant is OUT tonight] and it remains to be seen what kind of role Aron Baynes (listed as probabl) will have coming off a strained groin. And of course, we’ll see if Toronto can indeed put in a repeat performance and assert themselves against one of the league’s top three offenses.
Our man John Gaudes had more on Raptors-Nets this morning in the full preview. Below are the updated details. Now, as always, let’s watch.
Where to Watch
TSN at 7:30pm EST
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, Aron Baynes
Brooklyn [Updated] — Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, DeAndre Jordan
Toronto — OG Anunoby (out - calf), Patrick McCaw (out - knee), Aron Baynes (probable - groin)
Brooklyn [Updated] — Kevin Durant (out - health and safety protocols), Spencer Dinwiddie (out - knee), Nicolas Claxton (out - knee)