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Nets visit the East-leading Raptors

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NBA: Toronto Raptors at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Bruh. The Brooklyn Nets had a chance to earn their first three-game winning streak of the season on Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets. And for three quarters, they were well on their way to doing so. But then the roof caved in. Powered by a remarkable fourth quarter and Dwight Howard dropping a 30/30, Charlotte came all the way back and stunned the Nets with a six-point win. Bruh.

The opponent this evening will be the Toronto Raptors. The Dinos have been sensational and will likely wind up with the one seed come playoff time. They’re smarting a little bit after losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Where to follow the game

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

Injuries

Nothing new for Brooklyn. Isaiah Whitehead is still with the Long Island Nets, who play their last regular season game Saturday.

CJ Miles was under the weather on Wednesday and missed the game. No word on his status for tonight.

The game

Toronto won the first in December, second in January, and third one last week.

I noticed something interesting when I was looking up Serge Ibaka’s stats. After blocking almost 10 percent of the shots he defended in the lockout shortened 2011-12 season, his block percentage has decreased every single year since. That number tracks with the eye test. It feels as if he’s less engaged on defense compared to his Oklahoma City days, and that creates major problems.

D’Angelo Russell will have his hands full. Kyle Lowry has been one of the best point guards in the league since he moved to Toronto all those years ago and Fred Van Vleet has been terrific coming off the Raptors bench. Toronto is fifth in the league in points off turnovers, so Brooklyn will need DLo to take extra care of the ball tonight.

Player to watch: Jakob Poeltl

Look, we all have those moments at work when we’ve taken on more responsibilities than we should have. For Mr. Poeltl, that moment happened on national TV...

Am I a terrible person for laughing uncontrollably right now? If I am, then I’ll bee dat.

On the whole, Poeltl has been great coming off the Raps’ bench. He’s been a monster on the offensive boards and does a tremendous job protecting the rim. He plays an integral role in Toronto’s second unit and will play a lot of important minutes come April.

The Nets don’t have a lot of tall people on their roster. That’s a big problem when an opposing big man grabs 30 rebounds in regulation. One tall person the Nets employ, Jahlil Okafor, can’t get off the bench. In the future, that tall man needs to be out there in order to at least stem the tide and more importantly, to see if he can contribute next season and beyond. There’s really nothing to lose.

From the Vault

Syracuse is trying to win their first National Championship since 2003. Let’s take a look back at that great team.

More reading: Raptors HQ