Just when you thought that the going couldn’t get any tougher, the Toronto Raptors are set to welcome the Brooklyn Nets to the Scotiabank Arena. These Brooklyn Nets are not the Nets of earlier this year — though they have already beaten Toronto three straight times — or the previous couple of years. This iteration seems to have figured out who exactly who they are or might be. Kyrie is a thriving, full-time basketball player again. Ben Simmons is finding ways to contribute as he works himself back into game shape, and Kevin Durant remains unstoppable, unfair and unwilling to check-out of the “who’s the best basketball player on the planet” conversation. Oh, and the Nets just so happen to be 8-2 over their last 10. Talk about terrible timing.
The Raptors, on the other hand, are 4-6 over their last 10 (it feels worse) and reeling. Back to back road losses to the Magic and a gut-punch of a loss to the frisky Kings marks three straight L’s for the home team.
That Kings game, for what it’s worth, is absolutely one in which the Raptors should have won. Multiple large leads and actually managing to score well-north of 100 points, with Freddy popping off for 39? Absolutely wasted, and now Toronto has a much larger hill to climb in the Eastern Conference as teams start to separate themselves from the pack. The Raptors are in danger of being left behind.
Making matters worse, is that O.G. Anunoby will not be on-hand to contribute to the required full-team effort of stopping KD and Kyrie. Does that mean the game is a loss? Absolutely not! If Toronto excels at one thing — and they excel at a good handful of things — it’s playing up or down to their opponent. By that logic, a red-hot Nets team should bring out the best in the struggling Raptors. Right? Will it be enough, though? Can Toronto somehow find a way to repeat the 1st quarter excellence they displayed against Sacramento and maintain the intensity required over the course of the full-48 minutes to overcome a relative-Goliath? Time will certainly tell and below, you’ve got all of the details you’ll need to see for yourself.
Where to Watch:
TSN, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Thad Young
Brooklyn Nets – Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, Nic Claxton
Toronto Raptors – O.G. Anunoby (hip – out), Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out), Otto Porter Jr. (toe – out)
Brooklyn Nets – Seth Curry (illness – questionable), Patty Mills (illness – doubtful)