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Nets wrap up preseason vs Raptors

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Franca v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Think about it this way: the Brooklyn Nets' trip to China went a hell of a lot better than UCLA's did two years ago. Granted, the consequences of this week's international incident will last a lot longer and cost more financially than three kids boosting items from stores, but at least no one got tossed into the clink. You take the little victories where you can.

One other point about the Pac 12 games of two years ago and the NBA today. It was Joe Tsai, then sponsor of the college games, who arranged for the release of LiAngelo Ball and his teammates. And it’s likely the NBA will rely heavily on Tsai’s advice as it tries to get out from under its current problems in China.

I almost forgot to mention: the Nets won their game on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The opponent tonight will be the Toronto Raptors. The defending NBA Champions are living a lot differently these days, and this year promises to be quite fascinating for them. They lost their last game on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. Tip off after 7:30. Look for a YES feature on Kenny Atkinson at halftime. The network wired him during a recent practice.

Injuries

Kyrie Irving missed Saturday's game after catching an accidental elbow to the face on Thursday. He's fine and will play tonight.

Kyle Lowry is recovering from summer thumb surgery. He’ll probably miss this one. Patrick McCaw twisted his left knee on Sunday. He’s day-to-day.

The game

We haven't gotten a chance to see Irving in Kenny Atkinson's offense yet, and with the season a few days away, that might be a problem. Irving has been getting his reps in during practice, but it's always a positive if you can get a little game action in before you really get down to business. Only a few days to go until showtime. And now that he and the other NBA players are done putting out fires for the league office, maybe he'll talk to the media after the game and share his thoughts on their eventful week.

Now that Kawhi Leonard is back home in the Western Conference, the Raptors will have to tinker a few things. Fortunately for them, Pascal Siakam appears ready to take the next step. Over at Raptors HQ, Gabe Nisker helps us understand what to expect from Siakam (I REFUSE to call him Spicy P) this season:

The rest of Siakam experience feels like it will remain in place. He’s still going to outrun guys, he’s still going to get his shot off near the rim, and he’s still going to be able to play hyper-switch defense across every position on the floor. Last season, as noted, Siakam was able to rise to the occasion when called upon to be the number one guy for the Raptors — even in the Finals. But that was in a (relatively) small sample size, with a Kawhi-sized safety blanket always close at hand. Can Pascal do it for 82 games? Now’s the time to show it.

It’s a world of difference when you have to take on more offensive responsibilities. We’ll see how he does when the season gets cracking.

The game will also be Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s first at Barclays Center not wearing the Nets black-and-white. He signed a one-year vets minimum deal in July. On Tuesday. Nick Nurse, the Raps coach, called out RHJ’s lack of defense ... or defence as they say in the Great White North.

Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada, and Kyle Lowry gave back to the community with his annual Thanksgiving give back. Lowry is the man in those streets. He’s expected to play Friday night.

For the Nets, this may be a big game for Taurean Prince. He’s the Nets leading scorer in preseason at 18 a game. He’s also awaiting a decision on whether Brooklyn will extend him, as they did Caris LeVert. Nets have until Monday afternoon to decide whether to sign the 25-year-old to a deal starting a year from now ... or let him become a restricted free agent in July. He’s made it clear he wants to stay.

Player to watch: Jarrett Allen

With tonight being the last game of the preseason, this could be an opportunity for Allen to make a lasting impression on the coaching staff and snag the starting center spot. The team already exercised their fourth year option on his contract (as well as the fourth year option on Dzanan Musa) so he’s already secure in one area.

So far, Kenny Atkinson has divided minutes equally between Allen and DeAndre Jordan. After three games, Allen has played two more minutes than Jordan ... and after the first two games the disparity was only two seconds. (Nicolas Claxton has played 17:45 in two games, and scored 21 points, which works out to 42.2 points per 36 minutes. Welcome to Small Sample Theater!)

Marc Gasol is having one heck of a 2019. After getting traded from Memphis to Toronto, he won the NBA Championship in June and the FIBA World Cup with Spain in September. He’ll be a free agent in the summer of 2020, and he figures to be the headliner of that free agency class. It’ll be interesting to see how Nick Nurse utilizes the big guy.

From the Vault

Last Monday was Toni Braxton's 52nd birthday. In honor of her, let's jam to one of her best tracks. No, she is not Canadian but who cares. It’s preseason.

More reading: Raptors HQ