The Brooklyn Nets are playing their best basketball of the season right now, no doubt. They are on a 3-game winning streak and climbing up the standings in the East.
They have 4 games remaining of this current 7-game homestand and on Friday night they welcome in the Toronto Raptors who they are currently, statistically tied in the standings.
Toronto is finally healthy, which of course makes them a tougher opponent, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
This will be the toughest task for the Nets yet on their homestand.
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (12-11) vs. Toronto Raptors (11-10)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. est
WHERE: YES Network (tv and app), WFAN-FM (radio)
Like Kevin Durant Siakam’s bread and butter is that short mid-range game. At 6’8” with a 7’3” wingspan and a high release, he gets his shot over anybody that contests it. I personally hope we get to see Nic Claxton, who could bother a hook shot from Andre the Giant, matched up with Siakam for a couple possessions. We were robbed of it last time. In any case, Siakam’s percentages this season are ridiculous. Basketball Reference has him at 52% on non-rim shots inside 16 feet, and practically none of those looks are assisted.
That’s a theme with Toronto, the unassisted nature of their shots. A tenet of recent Raptors offense is the aesthetic of pulling a push door until it’s ripped off its hinges. They’re 22nd in assist rate and third in offensive rebounding percentage. The Raptors are longer and stronger than most teams they play, so running their offense like it’s 1st and goal from the 1-yard line makes sense. They’re gonna break the plane eventually.
The Raptors may bake offensive rebounding into their strategy more than any other team in the league. Perhaps it’s a poor idea to take Nic Claxton away from the basket in the interest of defending Siakam, I’m not sure who behind him is going to box out the likes of Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, and Thaddeus Young.
For more on the Raptors, check out Raptors HQ.