The Toronto Raptors (22-21) coming off of a tough loss against the Clippers as Terrence Ross set a career high in points (51 points) is looking to bounce back as they play in the basketball capital of the world against the red hot Brooklyn Nets (20-22) who have won 5 games in a row. Terrence Ross is the first player in NBA history to score over 50 points while averaging under 10 points per game.
With DeMar DeRozan out with a sprained ankle (he did not travel with the team), Ross will take his spot as the starting Shooting Guard coming off of a stellar game against the LA Clippers. DeMar DeRozan will miss his first game since April 26 2012. In total, DD has only missed 8 games out of the 5 seasons that he has played for the Toronto Raptors. It is unknown who will start for DeRozan, however the good news is Tyler Hansbrough will apparently dress.
Kyle Lowry, who has started every game for the Raptors this season and played 80 consecutive games for the Raptors, will be expected to play the leader’s role in today’s game against the Nets.
The Raptors have a strong record of 7-2 against Atlantic Division teams this season and have held the teams to an average of 92.0 PPG while scoring 100.2 PPG. The Raptors are fifth in the division in terms of defense as they have allowed 94.1 PPG on average throughout the season. Coming off of a loss where the Raptors allowed the Clippers to score a season-high of 128 points, they are looking to bulk up their interior defense for tonight’s game. Blake Griffin caused major havoc in the paint area in the last few minutes of the remaining game 2 nights ago (along with J.J. Redick scoring jumpers from distance very efficiently), which cost Toronto the game.
Raptors Cage Keys To The Game:
It was evident from the game two days ago that as Griffin scored scored 30 points in total (most of which were obtained near the basket) while DeAndre Jordan grabbed 4 offensive rebounds (for 11 rebounds in total). With Tyler Hansbrough out once again and Jonas Valanciunas’ constant foul trouble early in games, the Raptors’ interior defense has been taking a toll as Chuck Hayes has been taking a large of burden of having to guard the league’s toughest centers and power forwards, namely Blake Griffin. It would benefit the team’s defense greatly if Jonas put more effort into avoiding too much contact on defense.
DeRozan is out with a minor ankle sprain and will pass down his leadership role to his back up guard, Ross. Despite receiving criticism profusely last season, he has proved himself to be a solid back up guard, and for the first time this season, he will start as a shooting guard instead of the usual small forward start. We will most likely see Patrick Patterson in the starting line up today. Will Terrence Ross be able to carry the burden DeRozan has been carrying? This is the biggest question for today. All eyes will be on him today.
Makin’ It Rain
Statistically, teams that shoot more three pointers are better off offensively than those that do not. The Raptors have a solid shooting line up, including Terrence Ross, Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson, and Steve Novak, which they should be taking advantage of.
X-factor: Terrence Ross
You saw this one coming. Terrence Ross with his increased role for tonight’s game is looking to help lead the team to victory with the rest of the crew. His range beyond the three point line and his aggressiveness around the rim and in the paint will hopefully give the team an edge as they face the Brooklyn Nets in the Barclays Center.
There are trade rumors floating around once again concerning the starting point guard for the Toronto Raptors, Kyle Lowry. Not much is known about this subject at the moment. Keep an eye out for any updates.