Nets Face Big Test Tomorrow in Toronto

Nets Face Big Test Tomorrow in Toronto

Two weeks after trading for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, the Brooklyn Nets have seen little change in their ability to stack wins together. The Nets are 3-7 in their last 10 games and are the 8 seed in Eastern Conference with the Atlanta Hawks trailing them in the standings by just two games.

Simmons still has yet to play a minute and it feels like the Nets are just going through the motions at this point. They’ve lost three of their last four and will face the seventh seeded Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto after just losing by 36 to the Raptors at home on Monday night.

For Brooklyn this game is a chance to get some revenge on the Raptors and start adding some consistency when it comes to the win column.

Keys to victory

The Nets have been much better on the road this season at 19-13 compared to a 13-17 home record, so that’s something they have going for them right off the bat. Part of that has to do with the fact that star guard Kyrie Irving is unable to play in home games due to his vaccine status.

In terms of consistent, on-court performance, the Nets have been lackluster at best. Seth Curry has been a great addition to Brooklyn, averaging 19.2 points per game over his first five games played with Brooklyn. Their other new addition, Andre Drummond, has also been solid, averaging a double double so far in five games with Brooklyn.

This offense runs through Irving though, and he’ll need to command the shooting and passing game if the Nets want to beat their despondent 97 point performance last time out against Toronto.

This team works best when its big men like Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge are getting consistent boards and setting up their shooters. The Nets are dealing with a lot of setbacks, but this team is not playing up to their potential.

The Raptors have one of the better defenses in the NBA as they showed in Monday night’s matchup, so it’s incumbent on the Nets to score, and score in bunches. The transition game has got to be quick and if Irving is on the floor, he is the leader of that offense.

Inside the numbers

The Nets have been decent on offense, generally, averaging the 10th most points in the league at 111, but not having KD since mid-January has been a backbreaker for them when it comes to scoring consistently.

Points per game is actually something the Nets have over Toronto, as the Raptors are just 19th best in the league in that category.

Another stat Brooklyn leads in is field goal percentage differential. This is something they’ve been much better at than the Raptors this year. Brooklyn ranks 8th best in the league at +1.4 compared to the much worse -2.2 from the Raptors’ side.

On defense the Nets have been middling at best. They’ve allowed the 11th most points per game and are averaging the 17th most rebounds per game in addition to having the 17th best point differential at -0.3, falling well below both the Raptors and Hawks in that regard.

Turnovers have also been a problem when comparing these two teams. The Nets are middle of the pack at 14 when it comes to turnovers committed per game, while the Raptors sit comfortably at 5th least turnovers per game. To put it simply, committing turnovers translates to losing basketball games and this is an important stat that the Raptors are in the driver’s seat with.

It’s no coincidence that the Raptors have better numbers in most categories over the Nets, but there are certainly spots where Brooklyn can exploit advantages in the numbers and on the court.

Either way, with the Nets hanging onto that 8 seed by a thread, each game, especially one against an Eastern Conference foe, becomes that much more important.