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Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors preview: Nets look for another Tournament win

It’s not quite win and you’re in, but a victory tonight would be a big deal for the Nets in their pursuit of the NBA Cup.

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Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

That’ll work. The Brooklyn Nets were very, very unserious to begin Sunday’s game as they fell behind by as much as 21 points in the first quarter to the Chicago Bulls. However, Brooklyn figured things out and wound up winning by a not as close as it appeared 118-109 final on Sunday evening at the ‘clays. The Nets are back at .500 with an 8-8 record.

The opponent tonight is looking to bounce back from an especially rough loss. The Toronto Raptors were on the road Sunday evening to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite having the free throw and offensive rebounding advantage, it wasn’t enough to get them past the finish line and they suffered a tough loss.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 7:30 p.m. ET.

Injuries

No Ben Simmons. Cam Thomas has been upgraded to “doubtful” with his left ankle sprain. Dennis Smith Jr is “questionable” with a lower back sprain. Cam Johnson is “probable” with right leg cramping. Nic Claxton is “questionable” with a left ankle sprain.

Christian Koloko is out with a respiratory issue.

Tournament watch!

Boston Celtics v Chicago Bulls Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

For the Nets, tonight might get a little bit complicated as they try to advance into the next stage of the In Season Tournament. Luckily, my main man Lucas explained it here:

Got it? Good! Spencer Dinwiddie certainly does.

“Who don’t like money? Aye listen, half a million dollars, that could pay for my Rolls-Royce.”

The game

This is a big game not only for Tournament purposes, but this is also the first time these division rivals will see each other this season. Division games always carry a little extra weight and for both teams, a good outing tonight would go a long way in establishing some good habits as we move into December and beyond.

Scottie Barnes has taken on more of the workload, and it’s been paying off so far. He’s averaging a career high five three point attempts a night, and he’s made an impressive 37.6 percent of them. Barnes’ growth is critical to what Toronto hopes to build over the next decade, and the Nets will look to bother him a bunch tonight.

Shots at the rim promise to be incredibly tough tonight. Jakob Poeltl has been one of the better shot blockers and rim protectors in the NBA in recent years, and he’ll look to own the glass against a less than 100 percent Nic Claxton. When the Nets have gone small with Dorian Finney-Smith at center, they’ve been able to keep the speed up and draw opposing bigs away from the basket. Assuming Claxton is good to go, the Nets will have a big body that can fight for boards on the inside and switch out on to shifty guards like Dennis Schroder. If not, the team can turn to their depth and rely on them to get them another Tournament win.

Ultimately, this game will comedown to three point shooting. The Nets probably won’t set any team records tonight, but they do hold the advantage over the Raptors in terms of three point attempts and efficiency. For Brooklyn, they have to make sure that they don’t rush into their stuff and find those three point attempts within the flow of the offense. If they do that, everything becomes a lot easier for them and gives the fans a warm treat on a cold Tuesday.

Player to watch: OG Anunoby

It’s always a good thing when young players start to put it all together. Over at Raptors Republic, Mikai Bruce wrote about Anunoby’s continued improvement:

So although he is creating his own two point looks less than he has before, his scoring has still remained similar and this is because he has been expertly attacking off of the catch this season. Anunoby has always been a smart off ball player but this season it seems that he has been more content with biding his time off the ball and allowing others to initiate actions in order to get him going downhill. Anunoby also has flashed some really nice playmaking chops as well, his feel for lay down passes after a drive are marvelous, and his nose for interior passes is intriguing, he truly is the perfect complimentary player that any team would love to have.

Toronto has to figure out what direction they’re going, and the determination on Anunoby will go a long way in figuring that out.

A good night by Mikal Bridges will go a long way in getting the Nets a win. Bridges didn’t have to do as much on Sunday, but the team knows they can turn to him if and when they need a basket late.

From the Vault

I’ve been watching the Janet Jackson documentary produced by Lifetime on Hulu the past few days, and it’s been pretty great so far! I’m up to the Rhythm Nation era, so let’s pull up one of the album’s many number one singles!

More reading: Raptors HQ, SB Nation NBA, Nets Republic, Raptors Republic