Raptors [49-17] at Nets [21-46]: Preview & 3 keys to victory


The Raptors play the second of a 3-game road trip in Brooklyn. The Nets’ season showed early signs of respectability, but calendar 2018 has been nasty for them.

The Toronto Raptors remain in Manhattan after their Sunday squashing of the Knicks. Here’s hoping they didn’t succumb to the temptations of the fleshpots of Broadway, and are ready to knock off another downtrodden opponent.

The Brooklyn Nets have lost 149 (and counting) games since the start of the 2015-16 season. They have managed 62 victories (and counting…or maybe not – they have won twice since the beginning of February). As if all that isn’t bad enough, they don’t even have motive for tanking. Their high-value draft pick is “owned” by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hence, the current group of black and white clad Nets are a hard-working bunch. They all have jobs to protect.

More from Raptors Rapture

Spencer Dinwiddie, their starting point guard, possesses an up-from-the-bottom story not unlike Fred VanVleet’s. He’s a valuable player because he can both score and distribute. I don’t know whether he deserves the label of bad defender; when your team gives up over 110 points per game [PG], there’s a lot of blame to go around. He’s got the size and smarts to be a better one.

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 08: Jarrett Allen
NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 08: Jarrett Allen /

D’Angelo Russell was the #2 pick of the Lakers in 2015, but they dumped him. Be patient, Brooklyn – he’ll be worth the wait. Jarrett Allen, a 19-year-old rookie center, has shown flashes of a very high ceiling. Allen Crabbe is an overpaid gunner who can be exploited when he tries to defend.

I’ve nothing against DeMarre Carroll, but they are nuts to play him as much as they are. His minutes should be going to interesting kids like Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. And why did they trade for Nik Stauskas if he’s going to rot on the bench?

3 keys to Raptors victory

  1. Don’t take this win for granted. The last time Toronto was in Brooklyn, our team needed a 3-point play in overtime by DeMar DeRozan to grab the one-point W. The Raptors are a top-3 team with a target on their back.
  2. Switch everyone. The Nets are second in the NBA in 3-point shooting attempts at 35.1 PG, and tied for 27th in success rate with 34.8. I hope to see both Serge and Jonas out beyond the arc. If we pressure their shooters, I’ll take my chances with them scoring on the inside.
  3. Defense turns to offense. It follows that the Nets, having hoisted up contested long balls, are not going to be able to gather in what will be a surfeit of rebounds. The Raptors should be able to exploit a bunch of run-out opportunities.


The Raptors smashed the Knicks with quality shooting and ball movement. Assuming we see that again, the Nets don’t have anywhere near the front-line talent or the depth to stay close.

Raptors 117 – Nets 97