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Nets and Raptors wrap up the 1st half (and their season series!) in Brooklyn

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Indiana Pacers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Last one for a while. It's been a hectic first half for the Brooklyn Nets and now that we're at the break, the team will get some well needed rest time before getting back to business next week.

In the meantime, they're feeling good after escaping with a last second victory in Indiana against the Pacers on Monday night.

The opponent tonight will be the Toronto Raptors. The Raps have been the hottest team in the league over the past month and change and are hoping to keep the good times rolling as they and we head to the All Star break. They beat the new look Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night and extended their winning streak to 15 games.

Where to follow the game

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


Kyrie Irving is out. Kevin Durant is still out of course, but the Slim Reaper (we bringing this nickname back, damn it!) has been working out a lot and looks good.

Marc Gasol and Norman Powell are still out.

The game

Toronto took Game 1 in December, game Game 2 in January, and game Game 3 last Saturday. This is the last meeting between the teams this season unless they cross paths in the postseason.

While the rest of the Nets will be at home, Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris will be participating in Saturday night's festivities. Dinwiddie will be defending his skills challenge crown while Harris will be defending his three point shootout crown. It would be cool as hell if the duo could repeat and bring the awards back to BK.

Speaking of Harris, he, Durant, and Irving got invited to work out for Team USA in preparation for the 2020 Games. That's pretty cool.

In the last Nets vs Raptors preview, I said Pascal Siakam would be appearing in his first All Star Game as a reserve. That was an error on my part as he was voted in as a starter and will be out there with team Giannis. That said, it's been a wonderful year for Siakam and the vote represents a great acknowledgement of of his hard work. You love to see it.

For the playoffs, you only need about eight, nine players max in your rotation. However, throughout the regular season, it pays to have great depth up and down the roster. Terence Davis went undrafted in the 2019 Draft and has been a revelation for Nick Nurse's guys. He's shooting over 40 percent from three point range and should have a continued impact when the Raps' backcourt heals up.

Kenny Atkinson mentioned it after Saturday's game, but the Nets can't afford to let themselves fall into a ditch and hope that they can fight all the way out and win. You need a consistent 48 minute effort to beat the elite teams in this league.

I'm a big proponent of fun in my sports, and the duo of Serge Ibaka and OG Anuonby provided lots of thrills and jokes with their scarf wars last week. Sean Woodley of Raptors HQ noted an additional benefit of their fun back and forth:

The value of Serge’s spon-con will never be seen on the floor or in the numbers, and management might not give a damn about it in the big picture, but the cost of a deal sending him away would be so much more than wins and/or losses. Learning the degree to which OG is a hilarious shit-disturbing troll is a hell of a lot more important than a marginal roster upgrade.

Team chemistry matters so much and when you've got it in spades, you let it flow instead of shaking stuff up just to do it.

Player to watch: Fred VanVleet

No matter where you are and no matter what you do, hard work can lead to bountiful rewards. Like Davis, VanVleet went undrafted. However, he's gotten better each year he's been in the league and is one of the team's best players and someone to count on to male big plays late in close games. With Lowry dealing with injuries and a heavy workload, having a player like FVV who can run point and take on scoring responsibilities is a godsend for Toronto and one of the reasons why they'll be tough to get rid of come playoff time.

Dinwiddie will be looking to wrap up a solid first half on a good note. He's been out there every game this season and his presence has helped the Nets survive the injuries to Irving and Levert. You need players that can get their own shot and set others up if you want to succeed as a team. Having a player like Dinwiddie that is effective either starting or coming off the bench allows for some breathing room as the Nets try to figure out what combo works best as they enter the stretch run.

From the Vault

Since it's Carribean night at Barclays, we'll let Sister Nancy take us into the break. See y'all on the other side

More: Raptors HQ