Toronto Raptors (30-21 SU, 29-21-1 ATS, 30-21 O/U) vs. Brooklyn Nets (9-41 SU, 21-26-3 ATS, 26-23-1 O/U)
NBA: Sunday, February 5, 2017, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, 12 pm ET
Line: Toronto -6.5; Over/Under: 216
It’s an Atlantic Division matchup between a pair of slumping teams in the Big Apple. The Toronto Raptors look to get back in the win column as they face the Brooklyn Nets Sunday night. Toronto lost for the eighth time in 10 games as they fell 102-94 at Orlando Friday night. Brooklyn has lost eight straight and 19 of their last 20 after falling 106-97 at home to Indiana Friday. Toronto has a 45-39 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams. The Raptors have won seven straight matchups, including a 119-109 road win in the last matchup January 17.
Toronto Raptors Battling to End Skid
Toronto has stumbled badly with eight losses in their last 10 games, taking them out of the top spot in the Atlantic Division. The Raptors lost to Orlando for the second time in less than a week with their defeat Friday night. Toronto was limited to 39.1 percent shooting from the field in the game and went 10 of 28 from three point range. The Raptors allowed the Magic to shoot 46.3 percent from the field with free throws playing a critical role in the game. Orlando sank 23 of 32 attempts while the Raptors converting 16 of 21 attempts. Jonas Valanciunas (11 rebounds), Norman Powell and Kyle Lowry each finished with 18 points to lead five Raptors in double figures in the loss.
The Raptors come into this one 5th in the league by averaging 109.2 points per game. Toronto is having their struggles on the glass, ranking 22nd with 42.8 boards per game. The Raptors are 29th in the league in assists with 18.6 dimes a night. Toronto is 11th in scoring defense as they give up 104.7 points per game. DeMar DeRozan leads Toronto with 27.8 points plus 5.4 boards per contest. Jonas Valanciunas is averaging 11.9 points plus 10 boards per contest. Kyle Lowry is the floor general for the Raptors and he contributes with 23.2 points plus 6.9 assists and 1.52 steals per game. Toronto gets solid production from bench guys like Terrence Ross (10.4 points), DeMarre Carroll (9.3 points), Cory Joseph, Patrick Patterson and Norman Powell. The rotation should receive a boost from the return of Jared Sullinger, who made his season debut last month. The Raptors are 8th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 46.3 percent from the field. Toronto is tied for 14th in the league by sinking 9.3 three pointers per game. The Raptors are 5th in the league in three point shooting as they hit 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Brooklyn Nets Hope to Avoid Ninth Straight Loss
Brooklyn lost for the 19th time in their last 20 games as they were knocked off by an Indiana team that has won five straight. The Nets continue to be stuck on nine victories as they are searching for that elusive double digit win. Brooklyn found itself in an 11 point hole after the opening quarter and couldn’t dig its way back against a tough Pacers defense. The Nets shot only 37.2 percent from the field and went 11 of 28 from beyond the arc to negate a 22 of 23 performance at the line. Brooklyn turned the ball over 19 times in the loss. Brook Lopez finished with 23 points to lead the Nets in the loss.
The Nets are 15th in the league in scoring offense with 105.4 points per game. Brooklyn is 14th in the league on the glass by collecting 43.7 rebounds per game. The Nets are 24th in the league in assists with 21.1 dimes per contest. Brooklyn is last in the league in scoring defense as they allow 114.4 points a game. Brook Lopez is good for a team leading 20.4 points a night while Sean Kilpatrick chips in 13.9 points per game from the backcourt. Bojan Bogdanovic kicks in 14.1 points plus 3.4 boards per game while Jeremy Lin averages 13.9 points and 5.8 assists per contest. Lin is out again after suffering his third hamstring injury of the season in rehab and is expected to miss at least three to five weeks. Joe Harris (8.4 points), Trevor Booker (9.8 points, 8.5 rebounds), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Luis Scola and Justin Hamilton are key pieces in the rotation as well. Rookie Isaiah Whitehead has gotten a good chunk of minutes at point guard for Brooklyn. The Nets are tied for 25th in the league by shooting 44.1 percent from the floor. Brooklyn is 5th by sinking 11 triples per contest. The Nets are 27th in the league in three point shooting as they shoot 33.9 percent from long range.
- Raptors are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 vs. NBA Atlantic
- Nets are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- Nets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. NBA Atlantic
- Nets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
The Raptors are probably as close to a must win situation as they’ve been in several years as far as a regular season contest goes. Eight losses in 10 games and their continued struggles could push them even further behind in the Atlantic Division with Boston continuing to win and getting healthier. As for the Nets, there’s not much you can say for a redeeming quality for them. They’re terrible and even with their struggles, Toronto has owned them. The Raptors sweep the season series and makes it eight straight over the Nets with a win here in Brooklyn.
Pick: Toronto Raptors
Both teams come in with dismal records in their last 10 games as the Raptors are just 2-8 while Brooklyn is 1-9 in that stretch. The difference between the teams is their relative standing in the Eastern Conference: Toronto is still within 2.5 games of Boston in the Atlantic Division and solidly in the playoff picture. Brooklyn has been out of the mix for an eternity as they continue to sit on nine wins. Losing 19 of 20 games isn’t going to instill much confidence in a team by the general public.
The under is 5-0 in the Raptors last 5 road games, 5-1 in their last 6 vs. Eastern Conference foes, 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400 and 4-1 in their last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. Brooklyn has seen the under go 4-0 in their last 4 home games, 5-1 in their last 6 vs. Eastern Conference competition and 12-3-1 in their last 16 games playing on 1 day of rest. Given both teams’ recent struggles, I have to think this one may stay under the total, especially if there are key personnel missing from the lineup.