Toronto Raptors take on the struggling Brooklyn Nets
Atlantic Division rivals Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets go head-to-head for the first time this season. Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors take on the struggling Brooklyn Nets

The Toronto Raptors will host the Brooklyn Nets at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday, Dec. 20, for the first time this season. It will be first meeting of four between the Atlantic Division rivals.

sully-akbari
Sully Akbari

It will be the 82nd regular season meeting between the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets, a series that is almost evenly matched. The Raptors lead the regular season series with a 42-39 record. Top storyline for the Raptors ahead of this one is DeMar DeRozan winning the Player of the Week award for the week of Dec. 12-18. This the second time this season that DeRozan won the Player of the Week award. For the Nets, they will be without their starting center Brook Lopez who will be resting in this matchup.

The Red-Hot Raptors Will Be Tough to Stop

The Raptors are coming off a 30-point blowout win in last night's game against the Orlando Magic. After a slow start in the first quarter, the Raptors didn't look back as they outscored the Magic 86-49 the rest of the way. It was none other than DeRozan who torched the Magic, scoring 31 points, grabbing five rebounds, and recording four assists in only just 30 minutes of play. He shot efficiently from the floor, making 13 of his 21 shots, for 61.9 percent shooting. With little defense being played on DeRozan in the game against the Magic, the Nets will have to put pressure on him and force double-teams so that he would give up the ball.

DeMar DeRozan continues to lead the Toronto Raptors. Photo: Alex Brandon/The Associated Press
DeMar DeRozan continues to lead the Toronto Raptors. Photo: Alex Brandon/The Associated Press

As a team, the Raptors lead the NBA in offensive rating with 115.4. The Raptors and head coach Dwane Casey don't pride themselves as an offensive-minded team but with DeRozan's historic start to the NBA season, Kyle Lowry's consistent play and hot-shooting from deep, a healthy DeMarre Carroll, the Raptors are poised to run their opponents out of the gym night in and night out. Toronto's net rating is ranked second in the league with 10.5 behind the Warriors.

The Toronto Raptors are on fire, leading the NBA in offensive rating with 115.4. Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Photo
The Toronto Raptors are on fire, leading the NBA in offensive rating with 115.4.
Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Photo

Toronto also makes the most out of their offense as they are third in the NBA in total points per game with 112.1, behind the Houston Rockets (113.1) and the Golden State Warriors (117.9). As they take on a poor defensive team in the Nets, who are third last in the league in defensive rating with 109.1, the Raptors should expect to score their season average in points, if not more.

The Raptors are at home and should take care of business against the struggling Brooklyn Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets are Cold

There is not much to say about this year's Brooklyn Nets squad. After coming off a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, it seemed that this team has hit rock-bottom. The defense has been an issue for this team as they let Joel Embiid man-handle them. Embiid is on minute restriction due to his prior injuries, but that didn't stop him. He scored 33 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked three shots.

Joel Embiid shoots over forward Trevor Booker in last night's win. Photo: Associated Press
Joel Embiid shoots over forward Trevor Booker in last night's 108-107 win against the Nets. Photo: Associated Press

The Nets let Embiid do whatever he wanted and did nothing to stop him because defense is where they struggle. They are last in the league in allowing total points with 114.3. It seems Brooklyn lets their opponents do whatever they want on offense and hope that they miss. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen as their opponents shoot 46.3 percent a game, which fifth-worst in the league.

Their offense, on the other hand, is not bad but it's inconsistent. Brooklyn scores 106.7 points per game, best for eighth in the league, but shoot 43.9 percent a game, ranking 22nd in the league. Their three-point shooting doesn't pose a threat either. They shoot 33 percent from deep, fourth-worst in the NBA.

Brook Lopez is the Nets savior as he is putting up 20.3 points per game. Surprisingly, he is only grabbing 5.4 rebounds a game. For a center with his size, he should be averaging more but he is playing 28.8 minutes a game.

Brook Lopez is the Nets' light in a season full of darkness. Photo: Kyle Terada/US PRESSWIRE
Brook Lopez is the Nets' light in a season full of darkness. Photo: Kyle Terada/US PRESSWIRE

Back from missing 17 games with a hamstring injury, Jeremy Lin looks to be getting back on track. He is averaging 14.8 points per game, leading the team in assists with 5.6, and shooting 47.2 percent from the floor. These are decent averages for Lin. Since coming back from injury, his role is to increase with the team as he averages 24.2 minutes per game.

Although little is going right for the the Nets they will look to upset the Raptors in Toronto.

Game Details

The Raptors are 10-5 on their homecourt and the Nets are an abysmal 1-12 on the road. The game is set to tipoff on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m E.T. at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

VAVEL Logo