The Brooklyn Nets continue their tour through the Atlantic division as they travel to Canada to meet the Toronto Raptors. Less than 24 hours since they met the 76ers in Philly (and lost), the Nets have another big challenge. The Raptors are currently above them in the Eastern standings, and this matchup could have a major implication in the playoff battle at the end of the campaign. Besides this, the Nets also struggle with Kyrie Irving, a disruptive factor that drags this unit toward the bottom.
Brooklyn Nets (8-10, +110) lost to the shorthanded 76ers in Philly last night, 115-106. That was easy to predict, despite the fact that the Sixers lacked Joel Embiid, because when Kyrie Irving plays, the Nets are mediocre and without any decent basketball philosophy. We aren’t hating Uncle Drew, nor does this has anything to with his off-court behavior, but simply, it’s a realistic observation.
His 23 points may be a team-high, but on the other side, Milton and Melton dropped 38 combined, having a massive impact on the final result. Irving is a point guard, yet he had two assists, which is unacceptable. Without him, the Nets were one of the best defensive teams in the league, but now, they easily allow 115 points.
Durant scored 20 points with five assists and boards, Royce O’Neal had 11 with seven boards and six dimes, while Ben Simmons posted a solid performance in his homecoming, having 11 points and dimes with seven boards. He could be a big factor in the Nets’ healing if the team gets rid of Kyrie.
Toronto Raptors (9-8, -110) had a nasty schedule. They were on the road quite a lot these days, but now comes a period when the Raptors play in Toronto. After two wins in a row, in Detroit against the Pistons, 115-111, and at home against the Heat, 112-104.
After that, the Raptors lost to the Hawks in Georgia, 124-122, following an OT, in a very dramatic and exciting game. AJ Griffin scored a buzzer-beater taking away another OT from the Raptors and a chance to earn the third triumph in a row.
Scottie Barnes scored 28 points, having a team-high with 11 boards and nine assists, falling barely to reach a triple-double. Though, Barnes shot poorly from the field, 11-for-29. OG Anunoby had one point fewer, while Thaddeus Young dropped 18. Apart from Barnes, the starting lineup shot 1-for-22 for three and that is the main reason for losing this clash.
The Nets won the only direct meeting this year, at the Barclays Center, 109-105. Kyrie Irving had 30 points, while Durant scored 27. Nic Claxton dropped 19 with 11 boards. Siakam led the way in Toronto with a triple-double, 37 points, 12 boards and 11 assists. VanVleet had 18 and Barnes one fewer point.
The Raptors are on the rise, and losing to the Hawks on the road was because of poor three-point shooting. Meanwhile, the Nets are disorganized and without chemistry with Kyrie on the court. Also, they played last night, so betting on the well-rested and healthy Raptors is our choice here.
Pick: Toronto Raptors win -110
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.