Archive for the ‘New Jersey Nets’ Category

While everyone eagerly anticipates tonight’s Nets’ opener (against your very own Toronto Raptors) in Brooklyn, it’s easy to forget that 17 years ago today, it was the Raptors who played the franchise’s first ever regular season game at Skydome, against the Nets of all teams.

How’s that for a coincidence?

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Kyle Lowry blowing by Steve Nash is something we hope to see at the ACC on January 20

In one of the more anticipated days of the summer for basketball junkies, the NBA announced its’ 2012-2013 schedule on Thursday, and as usual, there are some games that obviously stand out from the rest.

While I doubt the Raptors are featured in many, if any, of those games for the casual NBA fan, we’re here to cater to Raptors fans. And with that, here are the games we think you should circle on the calendar:

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Game No. 66: Raptors 98, Nets 67

18,161 people packed the Air Canada Centre to watch the 2011-2012 season finale between the Raptors and Nets. The loser would still have an outside chance to finish tied for the third worst record. The winner would finish seventh-worst or in a tie for eighth-worst.

Once the ball was tipped, the Nets gave new meaning to the word “tank” and the Raptors’ scrubs were made to look like an NBA powerhouse.

Now here are some thoughts on the game, for the last time this season:

1-For the Raptors, Ed Davis, Gary Forbes, Alan Anderson, Ben Uzoh and Solomon Alabi all played at least 40 minutes. Jamaal Magloire started. For the Nets, Johan Petro, Armon Johnson, Jordan Williams and Sundiata Gaines played major roles. Those lineups pretty much tell you all you need to know about what this game was all about.

2- The one thing you can say for the Raptors is that the players who saw action on Thursday night at least played with pride. I’m not sure you can say the same about the Nets’ sad sack of a rotation in this game. They were chucking shots, turning the ball over, running into each other, bumbling, stumbling and just doing their best to cause some in the stands to wonder how much Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z paid these guys to take a dive.

3- The combination of blatant Nets tanking and some solid efforts from Toronto’s players led to some inflated numbers for certain Raptors. Most notably, Ben Uzoh recorded the first triple-double by a Raptor (12 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds) since Alvin Williams did it way back on March 23, 2001. Until Uzoh achieved the feat, the Raps had the longest triple-double drought in the NBA. Uzoh added four steals for good measure in 46 minutes of playing time. Ben seemed to do everything asked of a 10-day guy and then some in his time as a Raptor this season, and as I’ve said recently, I’d like to see him brought back as the team’s third string point guard next season.

4- Ed Davis got a preview of the Summer League competition he’ll see this off-season and made good with the practice, posting 24 points on a ridiculous 10-of-15 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. But perhaps the biggest indication of the type of team the Nets fielded tonight was the statline put up by Davis’ frontcourt partner, seldom used Solomon Alabi. Solo, who hasn’t even played 150 total minutes in his NBA career, finished with 11 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks in 40 minutes of floor time.

5- A quick word on the Nets. I know it’s been said before, but if this team doesn’t land a top-three pick, the franchise will be in a world of hurt for the forseeable future. They were bad enough as is. Take away Deron Williams, take away the possibility of acquiring Dwight Howard, and keep them without a lottery pick this summer, and Brooklyn might be getting the worst team in the NBA next season. If there really is an NBA conspiracy to “fix” the lottery, then my money would be on the Nets, for the simple premise that anything outside of the top-three (and therefore a pick that would move to Portland) could be a death blow for the franchise before they even pack up and move. Us Raptors fans think we have a lot riding on this year’s lottery and draft, but no team has as much at stake on lottery night as the Nets.

6-Before the game, Jamaal Magloire took the mic at centre court on behalf of the organization to thank the fans for another season. Magloire mentioned the “p” word for next season (he pretty much guaranteed it), which I thought was ballsy, and probably not something the organization wants to start doing. While I think the opportunity is there if the right moves are made, if the team gets some lottery luck and if Jonas Valanciunas can make an impact, I still don’t think the Raptors should give fans the impression that a playoff trip is expected for next season. I feel like that’s welcoming disappointment and possible disaster. Plus, while I do like the bold statement, I’d prefer it if a player who will have more of a say in whether it happens or not makes the bold statement.

Raptors Player of the Game: Ben Uzoh – 46 Min, 12 Pts, 6-19 FG, 11 Reb, 12 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 TO

Nets Player of the Game: N/A (I picked a player of the game for both teams in every game I shared my thoughts on this season. I think I’m entitled to this one, especially considering there really wasn’t a Nets player worthy of the honour. If you want to praise Armon Johnson, Johan Petro or Jordan Williams, then go ahead.)

***

A quick reminder. If the Warriors beat the Spurs by the time you read this, then the Raptors will finish with the seventh-worst record, which brings with it 43 lottery combinations and a 4.3 per cent chance to win the Draft Lottery. If the Warriors lose, the Raps finish tied for seventh and eighth-worst, which will bring either 35 or 36 combinations on lottery night (to be determined by a coin flip), and about a 3.5 per cent chance.

While this is the last time I’ll “foul out” with six personal thoughts until October, we here at RaptorBlog will continue to have you covered throughout the off-season with pre-lottery coverage, pre-draft coverage, player evaluations and the rest of the usual summer stuff, along with some episodes of RaptorBlog Radio along the way. As long as nothing breaks this weekend while I’m recovering from having my wisdom teeth removed, then you’ll be able to find all of your Raptors-related off-season material here.

Start time: 8:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Ben Uzoh, DeMar DeRozan, Alan Anderson, Amir Johnson, Aaron Gray
New Jersey: Sundiata Gaines, MarShon Brooks, DeShawn Stevenson, Gerald Green, Jordan Williams

Injury report

Toronto: Jose Calderon probably won’t play tonight, while Andrea Bargnani and Jerryd Bayless are out for the season.

New Jersey: Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries… you get the idea.

This game is going to be virtually unwatchable, which gives me a good excuse to not actually watch it. I don’t know if Joseph is going to watch it, but he’s getting his wisdom teeth out early tomorrow morning so I’m pretty sure there won’t be a recap for this game.

All you really need to know is that these teams are tied in the standings so they will be tanking as hard as they possibly can tonight. Joseph wrote a solid post earlier today about how tonight’s games will affect lottery positioning, so you should read that.

If you’re devoted or masochistic enough to actually watch this game, I’d love to hear from you in the comments so I can find out exactly how terribad this game turned out to be.

The races at the top of the conferences and battles for playoff positioning haven’t left us with much to get excited about on the final day of the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 NBA regular season.

But for fans in New Orleans, Sacramento, Cleveland, New Jersey Brooklyn, Golden State and Toronto, what happens on the final day of the regular season could shape the future of each franchise.

Heading into Thursday’s slate of 13 games, the Bobcats and their potentially worst record of all time have locked up the NBA’s 30th seed, and a 25 per cent chance of winning the Draft Anthony Davis lottery. The Wizards, meanwhile, are locked into the 29th spot, and a 19.9 per cent chance of winning the Unibrow sweepstakes.

Where it gets interesting is that the Hornets, Kings, Cavaliers, Raptors and Nets are separated by just one total game between third-worst and seventh-worst in the league standings. In terms of lottery percentages, that’s the difference between a 15.6 per cent chance and a 4.3 per cent chance.

The Raps, Nets and Warriors are separated by just one game between sixth-worst and eighth-worst, which would be the difference between a 6.3 per cent chance of winning the lottery and a 2.8 per cent chance.

From a Toronto perspective, the Raptors and Nets head into their season finale matchup tied at 22-43. Whichever team wins that game will either finish seventh-worst or in a tie with the Warriors for seventh and eighth-worst. The losing team, on the other hand, would still have an outside chance at a four-way tie for the league’s third-worst record.

If you’re wondering, in the event of a tie in the “lottery standings,” the tied teams would share the total number of combinations that the positions take up. So, for example, if the third-worst team gets 156 combinations, the fourth-worst gets 119 combinations, the fifth-worst gets 88 and the sixth-worst gets 63 combinations, that’s 426 total combos to be shared among four teams (106.5 each).

However, according to the NBA Draft Lottery’s wiki page, “Should the average number not be an integer, a coin flip is then used to determine which team or teams receive the extra combination(s). The result of the coin flip is also used to determine who receives the earlier pick in the event that neither of the tied teams wins one of the first three picks via the lottery.

Based on how confusing some of this can become, the fact that certain slottings may come down to a coin flip, and the fact that we don’t really know which combination will come up on lottery night, I’m not going to come out and start talking about how this is a “must-lose” game for the Raptors (or Nets).

Example, imagine the Raptors win tonight, finish with the seventh-worst record, but then end up with some lottery luck and snag a top-three pick. Well anything outside of a top-three pick means New Jersey’s pick goes to Portland (because of the Gerald Wallace deadline day trade), so the Nets would then be left to think about how a win in game no. 82 actually would have saved their pick.

The point being that while I obviously want the Raptors to finish with the best possible chance at winning the lottery, or at the very least moving up, I’m just as worried about being careful what I wish for when at the end of the day, we’re dealing with a lottery.

Here’s how the schedule looks for the teams Raptors fans should be keeping an eye on tonight:

Nets @ Raptors (22 wins each) 7 p.m.

Hornets: 21 wins, @ Houston 8 p.m.

Kings: 21 wins, hosting the Lakers 10:30 p.m.

Cavs: 21 wins, @ Chicago 8:00 p.m.

Warriors: 23 wins, hosting the Spurs 10:30 p.m.

And here’s the breakdown of the lottery percentages for the positions the Raptors can finish in:

3rd-worst: 156 combinations, 15.6% chance

4th-worst: 119 combinations, 11.9% chance

5th-worst: 88 combinations, 8.8% chance

6th-worst: 63 combinations, 6.3% chance

7th-worst: 43 combinations, 4.3% chance

8th-worst: 28 combinations, 2.8% chance

Best case scenario, if the Raptors lose to the Nets and get wins from New Orleans, Sacramento and Cleveland, they’ll end up with a 10.65 % chance to win the lottery.

Worst case scenario, if the Raps win and the Warriors lose to the Spurs, they’ll end up with a 3.55 % chance.

I heard History Television may televise these games tonight instead of running an episode of Greatest Tank Battles.