1-1! Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Going into overtime in the preseason is always a weird scenario, but a basketball game is a basketball game. Someone’s gotta win. There was a lot to like coming out of the Detroit game, and the Nets will look to keep building their on-court foundation against the Raptors in Montreal as we move closer to the regular season. The opener, by the way, is October 17th against the Pistons. That’s like, basically tomorrow. I’ve waited longer for a Starbucks mobile order. Get excited!
The Raptors have been one of the most detestable Eastern Conference teams in the last few years ... at least from a Nets fan perspective. We all expect the Celtics to be good. They’ve been good since the 1800’s. It’s just annoying how Toronto has built a sustainable contender working the same level of assets the Nets had before the big Boston trade in 2013. Maybe even less. But Masai Ujiri has always been a keen GM, if sometimes a little overzealous, and at the end of the day the Raptors win games against teams that don’t have Lebron. And now Kawhi Leonard is manning the 3.
Where To Follow The Game
YES will be covering this one at 7:00 p.m. ET up in Montreal. It’s part of the NBA Canada Series program (or is it programme?) It’s good to have the Nets back on TV. No radio for this one though, I guess there just isn’t too high a demand for preseason basketball on the radio. But I’m sure plenty of Nets fans will just be happy to be able to watch this one.
Ugh. One of the more frustrating aspects of sports is and always has been the preseason injury. Crabbe rolled his ankle against the Pistons and he is out for this one. The Nets have not provided a timetable for his return. It seems as if Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Napier are still out as well. Kenneth Faried’s status is also still uncertain, but he’s been cleared medically. Quelle dommage.
On the Raptors side, Norman Powell has been day-to-day with a thigh injury. We may or may not see him.
Getting used to seeing Kawhi in a Raptors jersey is going to be tough. It just doesn’t look right. This Raptors team will be looking to build off of last year’s impressive campaign during which they won the East before being disintegrated by Lebron and Lebron alone. Of all the rippling effects of the Lebron to L.A. move, one of the more significant ones is the clean shot Toronto (should) have at The Finals, or at least the Conference Finals.
The Nets on the other hand kind of always played Lebron well, at least in the regular season. And hopefully they’ll play the Raptors well after beating Detroit behind big games from D’Angelo Russell, Caris Levert, and Jarrett Allen. The backcourt combo of Levert and Russell, as mentioned in my last preview, is going to be one of the pivotal aspects of the coming season for Brooklyn. Those two, when right, can be one of the most explosive, crafty, and talented backcourts we’ve seen in a Nets uniform in a long, long time. A trio of Russell, Levert, and Allen all playing well could actually be something of an impact lineup if everything goes smoothly.
The Nets also won the rebound battle in Detroit! Behind nine-rebound games from Demarre Carroll, Levert, and Allen plus a 10-board game from rebounding specialist and spiritual-successor-to-Reggie-Evans Ed Davis! Fun stuff, and encouraging to see from the Nets so early in this season, or preseason. Look out for some more of that going forward.
Player To Watch
As weird as it is to see him in the red jersey, Kawhi was maybe the third best player on the earth before he got injured, and after having taken basically a full year to recover there is reason to believe he might still be. The man is a wizard on both ends of the court, and the NBA is better when he’s healthy. Let’s hope he is, and let’s hope it isn’t enough to beat the Nets.
Moreover, as we have learned for Danny Green, a very underrated part of that trade himself, Leonard appears happier in The North than he’s seen in a while. That’s not good for all us fans who are hoping the many many Spurs connections to Kawhi might help the good guys land him next summer.
From The Vault
I don’t care if the man doesn’t know how to properly laugh, he can do this. Enjoy.
For a different take, head on over to RaptorsHQ, our SB Nation sister site.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Toronto Raptors Game Notes - Toronto Raptors
- Game Preview: Nets vs. Raptors - STATS/TSX
- A perilous journey from African refugee camp to Nets hopeful - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- NETS VS. RAPTORS PREVIEW: NBA CANADA SERIES MATCHUP IN MONTREAL - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Things getting chippy in Raptors’ camp as competition for minutes heats up - Mike Ganter - Toronto Sun
- Raptors’ Chris Boucher has taken the long way to get a two-way chance - Doug Smith - Toronto Sun