After a lengthy road trip that concluded with a Toronto Raptors victory in the UK, the Raps are finally back home. They will take on the abysmal Brooklyn Nets tonight in a game that they really have no business losing. The Raptors are sitting at 25-15, while the Nets sit at 11-30.
We get to see Andrea Bargnani, so there’s that. Let’s hope the Raps can make it 5 wins in a row tonight. Here’s what they need to do.
Cage’s Keys to the Game
Regain the rhythm
With the wonky schedule the Raps have had this past week and a bit, they could be out of rhythm, jetlagged, whatever it may be. It’s a good thing that the Raptors will be playing such an awful team, because it is likely that they will be playing some ugly basketball.
Play your best
The Raptors are known for playing to the level of their competition. This happens when you don’t take the team you are playing serious enough, and ultimately has come to bite the Raptors a few times. Lowry and DeRozan should not have to log over 30 minutes against teams like the Nets. The Raptors need to play with the same intensity that they would if the Warriors were in town.
The Nets’ perimeter defense is quite awful. Donald Sloan, the new starting point guard for the Nets after a Jarrett Jack injury, is terrible defensively. Lowry and DeRozan should have a field day.
X-Factor: Jonas Valanciunas
JV cooked the Nets last time around. He has a tough defensive matchup with Brook Lopez at the opposite end. If JV is at his best, the Raptors should have quite a smooth game.