Sometimes the schedule makers get it right. Unexpectedly, both the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets head into games on Sunday with the big distraction of a Monday night showdown that could either end or heat up the battle for the NBA’s Atlantic Division crown.
The Raptors easily took care of business against the Kings on Friday while the Nets blew an opportunity against the Celtics to fall 4 games back of Toronto for first place in the division. Now the Nets have to deal with the unpredictable DeMarcus Cousins and the potentially explosive Rudy Gay on Sunday while the Raptors head to the friendly confines of the Target Center in Minneapolis with a chance to sweep the Timberwolves for the eighth time in the past 10 years. Both the Nets and the Raptors need to win on Sunday and it will be a surprise if they don’t.
Brooklyn has been like a new team since the start of 2014, 10-21 to start the season and falling quickly into irrelevance, the Nets have been on a tear winning 20 of their past 29 games – that’s 69 percent! Brooklyn is back to .500 and the only reason they are not favored to win the Atlantic Division is the Raptors have won 64.5 percent of their games in 2014 and the upstarts from Toronto have beaten the Nets twice in the new year. Both teams had won 20 games in 2014 as of Sunday afternoon.
The Nets did win the first meeting between these two teams in November, but since then the Raptors traded Rudy Gay and the Nets play now doesn’t even resemble what it did earlier in the season. However, if the Nets lose on Monday, not only will the Raptors hold the 3-1 series lead and tie-breaker, the gap between the two teams will likely be just too large to overcome with only 20 games remaining.
Toronto blew out the Nets out at home early in January 96-80, but on the return trip at the end of the month, it took a steal off the inbounds play from Deron Williams by Patrick Patterson with 11 seconds left and a cool-headed short range jumper from Patterson off the return pass from Kyle Lowry with 6 seconds left as defenders flew by him to escape Brooklyn with the 104-103 Toronto victory. Neither team outscored the other by more than 2 points in any quarter and it’s likely to be just that close a game again on Monday night.
The race for the Atlantic Division crown will either heat up or end in dramatic fashion on Monday in Brooklyn.
High School Basketball Star Aquille Carr Is Back On Track
Everything didn’t go as the 5’7 high school basketball phenom Aquille Carr had hoped after he decided to forego college last spring. He has found his trip to the pros a lot tougher than he expected. “I am looking at Summer Leagues, but I am not (considering) not getting drafted,” Carr said. “We are just thinking about getting to the NBA. We are working hard. I just want everyone to know that I am going to be a better person. I am maturing and taking care of my responsibilities. I am trying to be a better player, an NBA player, loving the game more, taking advantage of it. I want everyone to know that I am going to be a hard working person, someone who can be a great role model to young kids.”