The Nets are scorching since P.J. Carlesimo took over for Avery Johnson in Brooklyn. Can the Raptors slow them down tonight?
Start time: 7:30 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, Ed Davis, Aaron Gray
Brooklyn: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez
Toronto: Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas remain out, while Linas Kleiza and Mickael Pietrus are both questionable
Brooklyn: Gerald Wallace is out, Mirza Teletovic is questionable
- The Nets are the NBA’s hottest team right now having won six in a row and eight of nine. You could look at the fact that they’re 6-0 against the likes of the Bobcats, Cavs, Wizards, Kings, 76ers and Suns during that nine-game stretch to downplay the run under Carlesimo, but Brooklyn has also won at Oklahoma City and beaten a hot Pacers team, with an annihilation in San Antonio the only blemish on their schedule in the last couple of weeks. The Nets are outscoring teams by an average of about 8.7 points over these last nine games and have beaten the Raptors by six points and seven points in a couple of close games earlier this season, so a line of -7 for Brooklyn looks about right.
- I’m sure a lot of you are surprised and disappointed about Gray replacing Amir in the starting lineup, but I assume that it’s to get a big, bruising body on Lopez early. As long as Amir’s ankle is okay, I’m sure we’ll still see him log the majority of minutes at centre, with Gray simply starting each half.
- A lot of talk in Raptorland these last couple of days has been spent on Kyle Lowry’s reluctance to attack teams the way he did earlier in the season. As I wrote yesterday, no one is saying Lowry has to be a ball hogging chucker, but he does need to find a balance between deferring to teammates on every single possession and trying to do it all himself. Dwane Casey put it perfectly in his scrum on Monday, saying “We need him in attack mode, but making the right basketball play. Not forcing the pass, not forcing shots, just playing basketball.” I’d agree with coach Casey, but right now I’d say Lowry is playing a a little too much pass-ketball instead of basketball.
- Everyone’s been comparing their looks and their games since Acy was drafted in June, so here’s hoping we get even just a couple of possessions of Reggie Evans and Quincy Acy matching up against each other at the four-spot.