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Nets visit Raptors in back-to-back

Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Not quite. The Brooklyn Nets had a chance to get a win against their crosstown rivals last night, but couldn’t get it done late and lost in front of the home fans at Barclays Center.

The opponent tonight will be the Toronto Raptors. The Raps have gone about their business quietly and are solidly in third place in the Eastern Conference standings. They recently had a six game winning streak snapped, but they got back on track with a win against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.


DeMarre Carroll (rest) is out despite it being his Toronto homecoming. Allen Crabbe (knee soreness) is questionable as he was vs. the Knicks. Isaiah Whitehead is back with the Nets having been recalled Friday from Long Island.

Lucas Noguiera and Delon Wright are out.

The game

One big change for the Raptors this year as compared to seasons past is the pace in which they play. They’re averaging 100 possessions a night, which is good for 11th best in the league. That’s a dramatic improvement over the years in which they were consistently in the bottom third of the Association in that category. The style change could help make them competitive in the playoffs against either Boston or Cleveland.

I know a lot of y’all hate midrange jumpers now, but maybe the Nets should start taking more of them? Brooklyn is second in three point attempts, but 28th (yes, 28th) in efficiency. It feels as if the Nets rush a good amount of their threes, so a little more patience on offense could lead to better results. They recently acquired a low post option in Jahlil Okafor, but we're not sure when he'll debut. Friday is his 22nd birthday.

The point guard matchup will be fun. Spencer Dinwiddie has continued to do a great job incorporating his teammates into the offense and keeping his turnovers low. He'll face a good test in Kyle Lowry. The numbers are down some, but that could be a result of Lowry having his lowest usage rate in a while. It takes time to adjust to a decreased role when you're so used to running the show.

DeMarre Carroll isn’t playing, ruining his reunion with Toronto where he played the last two years in Toronto. Too bad. Carroll said the Raptors offense was too much driven by ISO calls for Lowry and Demar DeRozan and that the Nets under Kenny Atkinson were a “better fit” for him. It appears that in retrospect, both were true.

Carroll, who had an injury-riddled two years north of the border, was dumped by Toronto in perhaps Sean Marks most lopsided trade.

Carroll is actually having a career year, averaging 13.3 points and 7.0 rebounds, which are his career bests, as are his numbers for free throws and assists per game. Carroll is also a leader in the Nets’ locker room.

The Nets also got two picks to take on Carroll’s remaining contract: two years and $30 million. Specifically, Brooklyn acquired Toronto’s lottery-protected first rounder, which currently sits at No. 26, and the less favorable of the Magic and Lakers second rounders, which Toronto controlled. It’s currently No. 39. The Nets sent Justin Hamilton to Toronto, who immediately waived him. He’s currently playing in China.

Player to watch: DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan has a lot of detractors, but he's a lot better than he's given credit for. He's shooting 47.8 percent from the floor, his best mark since his rookie year. He's traded in his deep twos for more shots from 10-16 feet, and he's shooting 49 percent on those attempts. There's something to be said for playing to your strengths and putting yourself in the best position to succeed.

When Allen Crabbe’s three point shot isn’t falling, it makes things a lot more challenging for Brooklyn. Over the last three games, Crabbe is only 6-29 from deep. If he continues to struggle, we'll see a bit more of Caris Levert.

From the Vault

“The Chronic” turns 25 today, so spend your morning revisiting it.

More reading: Raptors HQ