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Reply To: NBA • Wednesday Service Plays • 1/6/16

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Preview: Toronto At Brooklyn

When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

The Toronto Raptors experienced a series of breakdowns on the defensive end in dropping their last two games and will try to lock down on that end when they continue a five-game road trip at the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. The Raptors allowed an average of 118.5 points in falling to the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Toronto should have an easier time getting stops as it steps down in competition against the Nets, who are operating without point guard Jarrett Jack. Shane Larkin got the start and managed four points and two assists in a home loss to Boston on Monday as Brooklyn played its first game since learning that Jack (knee) would be lost for the season. The Raptors never have trouble getting production out of the starting point guard, and Kyle Lowry combined for 55 points and 20 assists in the last two games. The issue is on the defensive end, where Toronto allowed the Cavaliers to shoot 55.4 percent and bury 17 3-pointers in a 122-100 loss on Monday.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN (Toronto), YES (Brooklyn)

ABOUT THE RAPTORS (21-15): Toronto matched its season high for points allowed in the 115-113 loss to the Bulls on Sunday and exceeded it the next night against Cleveland. “Somewhere down the last couple of games we’ve lost our defensive thought process or whatever,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters. “We’re more worried about touches than we are our defensive approach. Until we get back to that — I don’t care if it’s back-to-back, once a week, whatever it is — we’re going to struggle.” The biggest recent lineup change has been the return of center Jonas Valanciunas, which pushed defensive-minded Bismack Biyombo to the bench.

ABOUT THE NETS (10-24): Brooklyn is counting on Joe Johnson to step up with Jack out and take some of the ball-handling duties from Larkin. “I think that with our personnel, we have very few guys that are playmakers,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins told reporters. “Jarrett was one of them and Joe is one of them, so obviously with Jarrett out, Joe is going to get more opportunities to be (the primary) playmaker.” Johnson handed out a team-high four assists and added 21 points in a 103-94 home loss to the Celtics on Monday.


1. Toronto F DeMarre Carroll (knee) sat out Monday and is day-to-day.

2. The Nets went 6-of-28 from 3-point range on Monday and are last in the NBA in 3-point percentage at 31.1.

3. The teams split four meetings last season, with Brooklyn taking the final two meetings.

PREDICTION: Raptors 108, Nets 93