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Raptors come to Barclays as Nets seek solutions

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Back home. The Nets came back to Brooklyn after a 2-1 road trip to face the Boston Celtics. They fell behind big early and fought back to make it close late, but ultimately lost 103-94 to the C's. They've got one more at Barclays before heading to Detroit on the second night of a back-to-back.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are on the second night of a five game road trip. Night one didn't go well and they got stomped out by the Cavaliers on Monday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off is after 7:30.

Injuries

No word on when Jarrett Jack will undergo surgery to repair his torn ACL. Joe Johnson didn't practice on Tuesday thanks to a left thigh contusion and is questionable for tonight's game.  That would leave the Nets rotation very limited at the wing.

DeMarre Carroll had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Wednesday morning, the team announced. The Raptors did not give a timetable for Carroll's return, noting that his status will be updated as appropriate. He will not play vs. the Nets.

The game

But here goes nothing

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Toronto

Record

10-24 21-15

Pace

97.76 95.67

Offensive Efficiency

98.6 104.4

Defensive Efficiency

104.9 101.8

Turnover Rate

15.2 14.1

Assist Rate

16.4 14.7

Offensive Rebounding Rate

25.3 24.9

Rebound Rate

50.7 51.3

Free Throw Rate

23 31.9

Effective Field Goal Percentage

47.5 48.8

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

51.9 49.2


The Raptors have won the division each of the past two years, but flamed out once they reach the playoffs. If they hope to win their first series since 2001, they're going to need DeMar DeRozan to continue playing great ball. He's a good bet to make it to the All Star Game in Toronto, and it would be a well deserved honor. He's a bit more involved in the offense and is 11th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 22.9 points a night. His game is a bit different compared to previous seasons, and John Gaudes of Raptors HQ explains:

He averaged 25 points per game, shooting 47.1% from the field, getting to the line 8.5 times a game, and racking up 4.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. The heightened efficiency numbers are reflected in DeRozan's play on the court, which thankfully has bled into January. He's given more pause to shooting mid-range jump shots, instead finding crafty ways to get to the basket to finish or draw fouls.

For all of the criticism Jarrett Jack received here and elsewhere, things didn't look so good without him on Monday. The duo of Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan combined for four assists and four field goals (on 12 attempts) in their time running the offense. They've got a tall task ahead of them this evening. Although

Player to watch: Jonas Valanciunas

The big guy has recently returned to action after fracturing his left hand against the Lakers in November.  The Raptors are bringing him along slowly in the five games he's playing since returning, not playing him more than 27 minutes ... and that was Monday vs. the Cavaliers, a 122-100 blowout loss.  In the five games, he's averaged just under nine points and nine rebounds.  Always good around the rim, the 23-year-old Lithuanian is shooting above 50 percent.

A fundamentally good player, Valanciunas doesn't try much that is flashy. He gets into the deep post, waits for the pass and tries to score, or if there is no options, pass it out to Toronto's scores.  He an increasingly adept passer. Defensively, he still has issues, but he can occasionally swat an opponent's shot into the stands.

From the Vault

This was a really fun series.

More reading: Raptors HQ