Luckily we don’t have too much time to ruminate over the Toronto Raptors blowout loss to the New Orleans Pelicans — because the Raps are back in action tonight against the Brooklyn Nets!
Wednesday’s game was just... a lot. The team never figured out their defense, Zion Williamson did a number on them, and Fred VanVleet got ejected. We’re gonna forget about that now...
To look ahead! The Nets sit just below the Raptors in the No.8 spot in the Eastern Conference. They’ve been steadily climbing up since firing their previous head coach Steve Nash and hiring new head coach Jacque Vaughn early in the season.
Brooklyn will be missing Ben Simmons due to injury, as well as former Raptor Yuta Watanabe; Alondes Williams is also out, while Day’Ron Sharpe is day-to-day. All this aside, the Nets still have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant... so they’re not worried.
On Toronto’s side, Precious Achiuwa is still out for the forseeable future, and Otto Porter Jr. has been ruled out of tonight’s game.
So can Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby and the rest of the team regroup from Wednesday’s blow and take out the Brooklyn Nets?
With any hope, we’ll have a repeat of THIS
so that just happened pic.twitter.com/0BxJxzKva0— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) November 24, 2022
Catch the game tonight at 7:30 p.m. on Sportsnet.
Is O.G. in a slump?
The Defensive Player of the Year candidate had a rough night by his standards trying to guard Zion Williamson in New Orleans. Two early fouls had him sitting on the bench for a lot of it, and O.G. seemed to have met his match when it came to strength.
Yet, he has a good record defending Kevin Durant and other superstars. No need to worry yet, Raptors fans, one bad game doesn’t mean his successes were short-lived.
How players shoot when guarded by OG Anunoby this season:— (@The_6ix_man) November 28, 2022
Jimmy Butler:, 40%FG
Kevin Durant: 23% FG, 7 turnovers
James Harden: 42% FG
John Collins: 0%
Dejounte Murray: 29% FG
Tyrese Maxey: 33%
Bam Adebayo: 25% FG pic.twitter.com/GJ6Q8x8Aey
If he can keep KD to a reasonable number while also contributing to the offence himself, the Raptors have a good chance of coming away with this one.
Could Trent Jr. be OUT of his slump?
The sole positive to Wednesday’s game was Gary Trent Jr.’s 35 point performance. It was nice to see him have a good night after he’s struggled in recent games.
The main question on everyone’s minds is — will he start or will he come off the bench?
He scored 35 points off the bench, but obviously Fred VanVleet getting ejected had a little to do with him getting extended minutes. Do we think that this performance earned him his spot back in the starting lineup in the eyes of Nick Nurse?
Gary Trent Jr off the bench tonight:— . (@GTJGotNext) December 1, 2022
12-20 FG (60%)
6-11 3PT (55%)
He’s back. pic.twitter.com/JxuEfM4mdi
Or will he be back to lead the bench and provide a much needed boost during stretches where Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are resting?
Scottie Barnes needs a boost
Another lineup question lays ahead of Scottie Barnes. He has also been struggling as of late, and even came off the bench for the first time in his return from injury last week. He didn’t seem too bothered by it, but could another bench night be in his future?
He scored four points in the Pelicans game. In the game before that, he scored 11. Before he missed a few games with an injury, he scored 28 against Atlanta, 19 against Miami, but only 8 against Detroit.
Obviously, he is struggling a little with lingering injury. Should be doing better? Sure. It this means to go on a twitter rant about how he is washed and didn’t deserve Rookie of the Year? No. Chill.
We’ll see how he does Friday. He usually performs well against stars, and with Kevin Durant on the court, maybe it will inspire a performance from him.
The team, the coaching staff and definitely the fans know Wednesday needs to be forgotten. The best way to head into the back to back will be to wipe it from memory, and start fresh.
With the game tonight in Brooklyn and then another tomorrow at home against Orlando, the Raptors need to pump up the energy and remember what they do best.
If they can have a good night defensively, hit their shots, and not let KD, Kyrie, or ANYONE on the Nets go off... they have a pretty good chance of making this a game!
Catch the Toronto Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets game tonight at 7:30 p.m. on Sportsnet.