Atlantic Division rivals Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors will meet for the second time this season. Can the banged-up Nets handle a fully loaded Raptors unit?
Catch this game live on Thursday, April 22, at 7:00 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Toronto Raptors (24-34, 14-15 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kyle Lowry
- SG: Fred VanVleet
- SF: OG Anunoby
- PF: Pascal Siakam
- C: Aron Baynes
The Raptors could be playing with a full stack this Thursday, with the likes of Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam no longer listed on the team’s injury report. All three missed the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder last Monday, but Toronto still managed to come away with a 112-106 win — the Raptors’ third in a row and fourth in six games.
Chris Boucher and Gary Trent Jr. led the way for Toronto in the Thunder game, scoring 31 and 23 points, respectively. Toronto’s depth could be too much for the top-heavy Nets team that is already expected to miss James Harden and Kevin Durant in this rematch.
The Raptors defeated Brooklyn, 123-117 last February, with Siakam putting up a dominant performance, scoring 33 points with 11 rebounds, while Lowry posted 30 points and seven assists. The Raptors should see plenty of scoring opportunities against Brooklyn that just allowed 60 points in the paint to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Toronto is 4-1 against the spread in its last five home games against the Nets.
ROAD TEAM: Brooklyn Nets (39 – 19, 16-12 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kyrie Irving
- SG: Landry Shamet
- SF: Joe Harris
- PF: Jeff Green
- C: DeAndre Jordan
With James Harden out indefinitely and Kevin Durant unlikely to play this Thursday, the fate of the Nets against the Raptors is largely in the hands of Kyrie Irving. Uncle Drew was sensational in Brooklyn’s 134-129 road win over the Pelicans on Wednesday, scoring 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field with eight assists, albeit with five turnovers.
Expect Irving to get a heavy workload again in the rematch against Toronto, but he still has some good talent to create plays with. There’s Joe Harris, who had 19 points in the first meeting with the Raptors.
Landry Shamet has also stepped up in the absence of Harden and Durant. In fact, Shamet is Brooklyn’s leading scorer over the team’s last three games in which he has put up 22.7 points on 58.5 FG% and 53.3 3FG%. It’s easy to forget about players like Shamet and Harris, but they can deal serious damage on any given night.
The Nets are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games.
Spread: So the Nets are down to only one superstar, will play on the road on zero days of rest, and will go up against a team on a roll that’s about to get its key players back. Don’t try to be cute with this one. Take the Raptors to cover (-2.5).
Over/Under: As long as the Nets have one of their three superstars, they are going to be fine on offense. They might get beaten, but they will not be hushed offensively. The Raptors, meanwhile, will have their way against the leaky Brooklyn defense. Take the Over (227.5)