I think it’s fair to say that a lot has changed since the last time the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets met, back on October 21.
Back then — in a game that the Nets won 109-105 — Steve Nash was still coaching the Nets, Ben Simmons looked like a shell of himself, and Kyrie Irving — who had 13 points in a decisive fourth quarter — had yet to be (deservedly) suspended and maligned for promoting an anti-semetic film. And the Raptors? They had Pascal Siakam, healthy and just starting his MVP campaign, dropping a 37-12-11 triple double.
Tonight, Irving is back from his suspension, and Ben Simmons is looking more like his old self; the Nets’ big three is finally coalescing. And the Raptors? They’re not only missing Siakam, they’ll also be without Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, Otto Porter, Dalano Banton, Precious Achiuwa, and Justin Champagnie. They’ll only have 10 players available!
So —winning this one will be a tough task for the home team tonight. The Philadelphia 76ers did it last night (missing Tyrese Maxey, Joel Embiid and James Harden), upsetting the Nets 115-106. Head coach Jacque Vaughn said “we didn't get it done last night,” but looked at tonight as a new opportunity. He chalked it up to the “human nature” of looking past a team missing three of their top guys, said the team watched film today and were “focused” tonight. Nick Nurse, for his part, said he expects the Nets to be “pissed off” about last night, and that they’d give “valiant effort” tonight.
Lineup-wise, the Nets earlier today announced that Yuta Watanabe’s hamstring would keep him sidelined for tonight’s matchup — a shame for what would have been a fun homecoming of sorts for Watanabe, who's been shooting the lights out lately. The Nets will also be without another sharpshooter, Seth Curry, who’s dealing with an ankle issue.
Where to watch:
TSN, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto Raptors — Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Juancho Hernangomez, Thaddeus Young
Brooklyn Nets — Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Ben Simmons, Kevin Durant, Royce O’Neale
Toronto Raptors — Dalano Banton (illness – out), Scottie Barnes (knee – questionable), Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out), Justin Champagnie (back – out), Otto Porter Jr. (toe – out), Pascal Siakam (adductor – out)
Brooklyn Nets — TJ Warren (foot – out), Yuta Watanabe (hamstring – out), Seth Curry (ankle – out)