Game Preview: Raptors vs. Nets
Brooklyn Nets (23-49) @ Toronto Raptors (53-19)
When: Friday, March 23rd, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: SN1, TSN1050
Toronto last saw the Nets in Brooklyn, earning a 116-102 victory on the road behind a 26-point, 14-rebound performance from Jonas Valanciunas. Brooklyn scored 40 points in the opening quarter, and led 67-57 at the half, but managed just 35 points in the second half as Toronto stepped up its defence. The Raptors used a 15-0 run in the third, and then a 14-4 run in the fourth to take control and win their ninth straight. DeMar DeRozan and Fred VanVleet each scored 15 points, while Kyle Lowry added an 11-point, 11-assist double-double. The Nets were led by D'Angelo Russell's 32 points in the loss.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: For Toronto, C.J. Miles is listed as questionable because of gastroenteritis. Miles missed Toronto's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. For Brooklyn, the injury list is still to be announced.
Bounce back: The Raptors are eager to get back in the winning column after dropping a 132-129 decision to the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Wednesday. Toronto lost despite scoring a franchise-record tying 79 points in the first half in a game where Cleveland shot 60 percent for the game and 63 percent from beyond the arc. The Raptors shot 53 percent in the loss, with six players reaching double figures as neither team placed a priority on defence early.
Homestand: Friday's game kicks off a three-game homestand for the Raptors. After facing the Nets, the team will host the L.A. Clippers on Sunday, and finish their time at home against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday before heading back on the road. Toronto is an NBA-best 29-6 at home this season, and is three wins away from tying the franchise record for wins in a season (56).
From deep: The Raptors have made at least 10 three-pointers in 14 consecutive games, a new franchise record. The team has connected on 10+ three-pointers 53 times this season, compared to 37 last season.
Lowry letting it fly: Kyle Lowry has helped boost Toronto's numbers from deep, connecting on 210 three-point field goals. This is two shy of his own single-season franchise-record of 212 made threes, which he set during the 2015-16 season. Lowry shot 7-for-13 from beyond the arc against the Orlando Magic, and 6-for-9 from deep against the Cavs. He is averaging 16.6 points per game to go with 6.7 assists and a career-high 5.6 rebounds per contest, while also leading the league in charges taken (32).
Jak attack: Jakob Poeltl had a big game off the bench in Cleveland, leading Toronto's reserves with 17 points in 27 minutes. He shot 8-for-13 from the floor, grabbing eight rebounds to go with an assist, a steal and a blocked shot. His 13 field goal attempts was a career high, while the eight made field goals tied his career-high for made field goals. Poeltl, the only Raptors player to appear in all 72 games this season, is 15th in the league with 1.28 blocks per game, while also averaging 6.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.