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Nets try to stop Raptors' 13 game winning streak

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Toronto Raptors beat the Indiana Pacers 119-118 to extend their winning streak to franchise record 12 games Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Well I'll be damned! The Brooklyn Nets played host to D’Angelo Russell and the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night in Barclays Center, and put together one of their most impressive games of the year. This one was never in doubt as they cruised to a 41 point victory in front of the home faithful.

The opponent tonight will be the Toronto Raptors. Through it all, the defending NBA Champions are near the top of the Eastern Conference standings and figure to be a tough out come playoff time. They've been the hottest team in the league over the past month, and they extended their winning streak to 13 with a win Friday night against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis. But the win was costly. Kyle Lowry left the game after injuring his left shoulder.

Where to follow the game

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

Injuries

Kyrie Irving is out for this one with a sprained right knee. He did not travel with the team which goes from Toronto to Indianapolis for a Monday game. Last Saturday, the Nets said he’d be evaluated in a week.

Kyle Lowry left Friday’s game with a shoulder injury and did not return. He was writhing in pain and clutching his shoulder before being helped off the court. He will be re-evaluated Saturday. Norman Powell is out indefinitely due to a hand injury. Marc Gasol has been out due to a hamstring injury and likely will be out again.

The game

Toronto won the first game in December and second one in January. They wrap up the season series next Wednesday.

This is the second night of a back-to-back for Toronto.

The city of Toronto and the entirety of Canada can take a deep breath as the New York Knicks did not pry Masai Ujiri away from the Raps. They have apparently decided to hire Leon Rose and William Wesley (shout out to World Wide Wes!) for their open front office positions.

The Nets are officially overseas, and if you’re like me, you probably need to get to work on updating your passport. Thankfully, one of my best friends has a nice and tidy walkthrough on how to do that.

Nice and quiet. That's the vibe the Brooklyn Nets were on during the trade deadline so they'll be rocking with this group the rest of the way. They did make some news by signing Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to a new contract. Shout out to great player development. TLC is putting up career numbers in several categories with Brooklyn.

It’s always cool to see a first time All Star get some love. Pascal Siakam was named as a reserve a few weeks back and will suit up for Team Giannis during All Star Weekend in Chicago. The shooting percentages are down some, but that doesn’t matter. He’s cut down on his turnovers and has been more of a playmaker as his usage rate has skyrocketed. His continued growth has allowed Toronto to stay near the top of the conference for now and for the foreseeable future. Shout out to great player development.

The point guard matchup ought to be fun. Whether it’s been as a starter or substitute, Spencer Dinwiddie has held it down for the Nets this year. As one of the few players on the roster that can create their own shot and set others up, his success is essential for Brooklyn’s chances to compete in the second half of the season. On the other side is Kyle Lowry. Of all the guys on the team that have had to carry bigger burdens, he’s had to carry the largest. He’s currently third in the league in minutes per game, clocking in close to 37 a night. He checks every box as a franchise player and he'll be someone that can keep the Raps in good hands going forward.

One of the biggest vices affecting the Nets this year has been turnovers, and they're facing the worst possible opponent tonight. Toronto has gotten teams to cough it up close to 17 percent of the time they've had the ball, second best in the league. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Player to watch: Serge Ibaka

All NBA defender, NBA champion, scarf connoisseur, etc. Ibaka is a man of many talents and his versatility has helped Nick Nurse and the Raps survive the latest wave of injuries. Over at Raptors HQ, Daniel Reynolds perfectly summarized Ibaka as such:

Serge Ibaka is now perhaps the most consistent player on the Raptors. He gets you 15-8 every night on a mix of jumpers and hook shots, he protects the rim, and he plays with a confidence befitting a man of his station. Ibaka also consistently does a few goofy things here and there — suddenly developing hands of stone, picking up dumb fouls, trying something wild on offense — but we can live with that for all the other positives he brings to Toronto. If nothing else, there’s no question of who Serge is, and that continues to be a comfort.

Having a safety net like Ibaka is crucial, and when the playoffs come, he’ll prove to be even more valuable.

Jarrett Allen will tussle with Ibaka. Ibaka can draw Allen away from the rim, so it's going to take a team effort on the boards for Brooklyn tonight. Thanks to Wednesday's game being a blowout, Allen only played 18 minutes so he'll have more than enough energy today.

From the Vault

Since I was talking travel earlier, let’s travel to space with Mae Jemison!

More reading: Raptors HQ