Things to watch as the Raptors try for a third straight win tonight against the Nets at ACC (7PM, TSN, FAN590, GET TICKETS).
Can the defence keep it up? The Raptors are coming off a defensive performance where they held the Cavs to 29 per cent shooting from the floor, while the Nets hit Air Canada Centre shooting a league-worst 38.7 per cent. For more of a breakdown of just how well the defence has been performing check out our Game Notes for some numbers and the most recent edition of Statophile by Tom Liston over at Raptors Republic is also a great read.
Nets Losses: The Nets have been hit hard by the injury bug with Brook Lopez (broken right foot) out and MarShon Brooks (sprained left ankle), Kris Humphries (sore left shoulder), Damion James (sore right foot) and Deron Williams (sore right side) all listed as day-to-day.
The Raptors are also dealing with injuries to Jerryd Bayless (left ankle sprain), Aaron Gray (rapid heart rate) and Linas Kleiza (knee) isn’t quite ready to go yet. But can the Raptors take advantage?
The Grind Is Here: The nastiest chunk of the schedule in terms of sheer volume of games is here with a stretch of seven matchups in nine days beginning tonight. Dwane Casey said Thursday’s practice at ACC was likely the last one this team’s seen for a while, but plans to get innovative on the road.
More From Ed Davis: The second-year power forward could really give this team a boost with consistent production during this stretch. Davis is coming off his best game of the young season (eight points, seven rebounds), which admittedly came on the heels of a one-on-one meeting/film session with Casey to talk about raising his level of play. He’ll try to build on that performance tonight.
DeRozan Balancing It Out: DeMar DeRozan’s three-point outburst on Wednesday was impressive, but five makes from beyond the arc might be more exception than rule, with the trade off being more visits to the free throw line.
DeRozan was working on just that Thursday, as he spent some extra time post practice getting instruction from assistant coaches Johnny Davis and Eric Hughes on moving without the ball, fighting through screens and posting up inside. More from DeRozan and assistant coach Johnny Davis on that work below. Keep an eye on DeRozan tonight to see how he’ll try and score his points.