Game Preview: Raptors vs Nets
Toronto Raptors (21-5) @ Brooklyn Nets (8-18)
When: Friday, Dec. 7th, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Barclays Center
Leading into tonight’s game:
Injury Report: For the Raptors, Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation) is out. Malachi Richardson (sinusitis) is questionable. For the Nets, Treveon Graham (left hamstring strain), and Caris LeVert (right foot subtalar dislocation) are out.
What a night: Kawhi Leonard enters Friday’s game fresh off a dominant performance against the Philadelphia 76ers where he finished with 34 points, nine rebounds, an assist, five steals and a blocked shot while shooting 13-for-24 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the three-point line. With that performance, Leonard joined LeBron James, Kevin Durant and James Harden as the fourth active player to score 500 points through 20 games with his current team.
Recent history: This will be the first of four meetings between the Raptors and Nets this season. Toronto has won 12 consecutive games against Brooklyn, including six on the road. Both of these streaks are Brooklyn’s longest active losing streaks against any opponent. The Nets enter Friday’s game having lost their last eight games, most recently a 114-112 thriller against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite leading by 23 points, including an 18-point lead to start the fourth, the Nets fell to Oklahoma City after the Thunder won the final quarter 39-19 to complete the comeback win.
Expanding his game: Pascal Siakam has made waves with his improved play this season, especially the spin move that has everyone talking. In recent games, though, he’s been showing off another part of his game that has evolved. Siakam has racked up 18 assists over Toronto’s last three games. He led the team in assists in their road victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers when Kyle Lowry was out with a sore back last week. Against the Sixers, Siakam had six points, eight rebounds and another six assists.
JV soaring: Jonas Valanciunas scored a season-high 26 points on Wednesday. He played 18 minutes, shooting 9-for-13 from the floor and 8-for-9 from the free throw line. Valanciunas also added eight rebounds and two assists. Most impressive, the Raptors were a +14 when he was on the floor. No other player was better than a +8 in the game. Valanciunas is averaging 12.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 19.2 minutes per game this season.
Familiar faces: Nets general manager Sean Marks spent the first two seasons of his NBA career playing for the Raptors. Forward DeMarre Carroll played two seasons with the Raptors before being traded to the Nets in 2017, and center Ed Davis spent two seasons with Toronto after being drafted by the team in 2010.