The Toronto Raptors welcome the Joe Johnson-less Brooklyn Nets to the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night having dominated them so far this season, but head coach Dwane Casey insists that’s no reason to take them lightly.
“They are still a team that has a lot of pride,” Casey said after shootaround. “You have an All-Star in Brook Lopez. I think is one of the top centers in our league. Thaddeus Young is one of the top power forwards in our league, so they have some firepower. We can’t look at their record. In the last six games they are 3-3 and playing at a high level. Out of their last six games they have scored over 116 points three times, so all those things are pluses for them and things we have to guard against. We have no reason whatsoever to go in any game and look at a team’s record, who they are, how they are playing and not come out and play our game cause when we do, I promise you it’s ugly.”
In their two earlier matchups, the Raptors have outscored the Nets 101.5 to 87, shot 47.3 percent from the field and outrebounded them 42.5 to 39.5.
The Nets have been bad this season, with or without Johnson. They have posted the fourth worst record in the NBA at 18-45 and have nothing to play for except pride, but in the NBA pride can win you games if your opponent doesn’t show up ready to play.
Lopez has averaged 26.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, a steal and 2.5 blocks against the Raptors this season and Young is averaging 11 points and 8 boards. They can carry this team on any given night.
A potential trap game because it should be a blowout, but as Phoenix, Denver and Minnesota found out recently, these Nets can still put up a ton of points in a hurry if you aren’t ready to defend.