Brooklyn Nets head north to face Toronto Raptors

Alex Trautwig

The Nets flew out of Newark for points north, without Brook Lopez who is not yet ready to return after six missed games five of them losses. Mikhail Prokhorov also left for points east without a win during his stay, the first time that's happened. Kind of sad, but recently, Toronto writers have taken to calling the Raptors the saddest team in the NBA. Hard to argue against them.

They're 4-18, one game ahead of the Wizards with an opening schedule that's, to put it kindly, unfair. They've played 15 of their first 22 games on the road, winning one (making them 3-4 at home.) They've lost five straight and are trying to unload their highest paid player, Andrea Bargnani, but finding no takers, particularly not the Lakers. They've rumored as a possible taker of Pau Gasol's $40 million contract.

Meanwhile, their most popular player, Jose Calderon, wants out...desperately. Their top rookie, Lithuanian seven-footer Jonas Valanciunas has been somewhat of a disappointment, although he is only 20 years old. DeMar DeRozan, who many think they overpaid, is playing well enough, averaging 18.5 points per game but is no franchise player. (Someone they definitely overpaid, Landry Fields, is averaging 2.3 points per game after getting. $20 million over four years.)

To make matters worse for Wednesday's contest, Kyle Lowry (triceps) is unlikely to play and Bargnani (elbow) is likely but uncertain. Linas Kleiza isn't playing. Nor is Fields. To top it all off Wednesday, Amir Johnson will be serving a one-game suspension for tossing a mouthguard at a ref.

The team's architect, GM Bryan Colangelo, on Saturday called the team's performance this season "embarrassing" and "unacceptable." Fans have turned the comments on him. After all, he put the team together.

For the Nets, Lopez is still out and we haven't heard how Gerald Wallace's knee is likely to feel on arrival in Toronto. We're more worried about their psyches after five straight losses. But if it helps, every team should note after a loss, hey, we could be the Lakers!

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