Gameday: Nets vs Raptors, November 7

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Courtesy: The Canadian Press

A rare 3:30 home tip on a Sunday! Weird one but here we go.

The Raptors (6-4) are looking to bounce back from their crushing defeat against Cleveland on Friday against the Nets (6-3). The main thing to look forward to is that Pascal Siakam is back!

Spicy P is coming off a polarizing (?) 2020-21 season where he averaged 21.4 points, 7.2 boards and 4.5 assists. His playmaking improved from the previous season, but his scoring and shooting percentages took a small dip. He also had quite a few mishaps in end of game situations with the game on the line. Personally, I’m blaming Tampa for all of this.

Logic would assume Siakam would be eased into things off the bench, but a few games from now is where things get interesting. Once Siakam is back to starting, who is taken out of the starting lineup? Gary Trent Jr, like Norman Powell before him, seems to do his best work as a starter. He’s in a better rhythm offensively that way, where as he tends to force things coming in as a reserve trying to get himself going. Also he leads the NBA in steals per game, although the defensive intensity should carry over regardless if he were to be benched. Scottie Barnes? how do you do that to the rookie who’s done nothing but average 17.6 ppg and 8.9 rpg over his first 8 games as a pro? Precious Achiuwa seems to be the more likely choice, but that’s a smaller lineup you are trotting out there. Ultimately, it may vary game by game, but it seems obvious that the VanVleet-Trent-Barnes-Anunoby-Siakam combo should be the Raptors “death lineup” and will probably close games. That’s terrifying to score against. The Masai vision.

Kevin Durant

The last time KD played in Toronto he tore his achilles in Game 5 of the 2019 Finals, which cost him an entire season. The last full game he played here? Oh just 51 points in an overtime thriller that the Raptors won. He’s looking forward to returning.

Maybe a Saturday night here and an early tip is advantage Toronto?

Durant is averaging 28.8 ppg (off damn near 57 percent from the field, cmon now), 8.8 rpg and 5.2 apg this season. Brooklyn has dealt with some uncertainty so far. Kyrie Irving has yet to play this season and his unvaccinated situation that doesn’t look like it’s going to be resolved anytime soon. James Harden had a triple double in the Nets win in Detroit on Friday, but he’s only averaging 17.7 points a game, his worst since his last season in Oklahoma City. Harden is also shooting just 38.5 percent from the field (he’s actually better from three at 41.2 percent), and his free throw attempts like most players are down. He doesn’t appear to be 100 percent healthy entering this season, and is just playing his way back into shape.

And then sometimes, there are plays like this (huh?).

Quick shoutout to LaMarcus Aldridge, who had to retire last season due to an irregular heartbeat, but has returned to average nearly 13 points a game off the bench. He’s third on the team in scoring.

Game Info

Tip-off: 3:30pm EST (yes ugh, standard time) | TV: Sportsnet | Radio: TSN 1050

Nets lineup

Kyrie is out indefinitely. Nic Claxton (illness) is out for a couple of weeks.

PG: James Harden, Jevon Carter

SG: Joe Harris, Patty Mills, Cam Thomas, David Duke Jr.

SF: Bruce Brown, DeAndre Bembry, Kessler Edwards

PF: Kevin Durant, Paul Millsap, James Johnson

C: Blake Griffin, Lamarcus Aldridge, Day’Ron Sharpe

Raptors Lineup

Only Yuta Watanabe (calf) remains on the injury report. Full roster coming soon! Assuming Siakam comes off the bench? I’ll take a wild guess before things are confirmed.

PG: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn, Goran Dragic

SG: Gary Trent Jr, Svi Myhailiuk, David Johnson

SF: Scottie Barnes, Justin Champagnie, Isaac Bonga

PF: OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher

C: Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch

The Line

Brooklyn is favoured by 3.5 points. Seems like the over/unders have adjusted to Raptor scores this season, moving from the high 210’s to 206.5. My 3-0 record is on the line. I’m taking the over for the first time. Both teams will comfortably score 100+

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