Nets-Raptors Preview

The Toronto Raptors are atop the Eastern Conference, and much of that success stems from capitalizing on favorable matchups.

The Raptors look to continue dominating teams with losing records Wednesday night as they host the Brooklyn Nets for the first time since being ousted in the opening round of the playoffs.

Toronto (19-6) owns the best record in the conference, and it can thank its 11-1 record against teams under .500 for the advantage.

All of the Raptors' six victories in the last eight games have come in such matchups, while both defeats have been against Cleveland.

They've won the first three of this six-game stretch against teams with losing records, but needed a dominant second half to beat Orlando 95-82 on Monday. They trailed by eight at halftime before shooting 48.8 percent and outscoring the Magic by 21 points in the final 24 minutes to improve to 12-3 at home.

"We just came out more aggressive and played our game," said Kyle Lowry, who had 11 of his 17 points in the second half. "We knew we let a lead get away in the first half."

Toronto, which is trying to win the Atlantic Division for a second straight season, should have some added motivation against the Nets (10-13). The Raptors were eliminated in seven games by Brooklyn in the first round, blowing a 3-2 series lead and losing Game 7 104-103 at the Air Canada Centre.

Lowry, who averaged 21.1 points in that series, scored 28 in Game 7 before his jumper in the final seconds was blocked. He was also effective during the regular season, scoring 22.0 points while hitting 13 of 27 3s as the Raptors and Nets split four matchups.

Amir Johnson, who had 11 points Monday, was also productive in Game 7, putting up 20 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

The Nets have won four of six games on the road, but they're 2-4 in their last six overall after falling 95-91 at home to Miami on Tuesday.

Mason Plumlee is looking to build on his season-high 21 points. The center is averaging 16.7 points and 10.7 boards over the past three games, a major improvement from his 6.7 and 5.6 season marks.

"We need to go up (to Toronto) and get a win, so whatever we gotta do," Plumlee said. "Back to back, it doesn't matter, we just need to go get a win."

He was limited to reserve duty in the playoffs last season, totaling 18 points and 17 rebounds in the series with Toronto.

Joe Johnson is 10 of 19 from 3-point range in three games since missing two with the flu, and he may be looking forward to facing the Raptors. He averaged 21.9 points in the playoffs against Toronto, including 25.0 while Brooklyn split the four meetings in Canada.

Promoted Stories

More NBA


Drag this icon to your bookmark bar.
Then delete your old SI.com bookmark.


Click the share icon to bookmark us.