Nets need big game from unheralded guard to stop Raptors magic

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There aren’t many groups across the NBA which have had the Brooklyn Nets’ quantity this season, and the Toronto Raptors are one of many few exceptions.

As loopy because it sounds, the Raptors, who at the moment sit only one recreation out of the Japanese Convention play-in match with a 26-35 file, have gained each conferences towards Brooklyn this 12 months, with their newest upset coming as lately as final week.

Like they’ve been all season, the Nets come into this matchup extraordinarily banged up, as they’ll be with out a few of their most necessary gamers. In different phrases, head coach Steve Nash must depend on some unheralded function gamers greater than he wish to.

Brooklyn sadly acquired extra troubling information on the damage entrance after they introduced that guard Bruce Brown, who’s made a significant affect each as a starter and coming off the bench this marketing campaign, will miss out attributable to a knee damage.

We hate to single out the brand new man as someone who must step up for the Nets, however latest signee Mike James has to minimize the load on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. In any case, the group could have simply 11 (!) energetic gamers accessible for Tuesday night time.

The Nets want guard Mike James to step up towards Toronto.

With their backcourt decimated by accidents, the Nets inked James to a 10-day contract previous to final weekend. Showing in his first NBA recreation in over three years, the previous undrafted expertise out of Lamar College chipped in eight factors and two steals in 21 minutes in Friday’s win over Boston.

“I favored enjoying rather a lot and having a star function,” James stated after the win. “Simply as you become old, I simply don’t need to have that a lot duty on my shoulders each night time. Enjoying 21 minutes an evening is healthier for me and simply not being as a lot of a focus and simply attempting to assist out. I really feel like I can shine in that if I bought the chance.”

It’s factor James feels that method, as a result of chances are high the Nets depend on him for heavy minutes towards the Raptors, who they should beat as a way to preserve their one-game cushion over Philadelphia for the highest seed within the convention.

For these curious, right here’s a have a look at who gained’t be accessible for the Nets Tuesday night time:

  • James Harden (hamstring)
  • Bruce Brown (knee)
  • Chris Chiozza (hand)
  • Alize Johnson (well being and security protocols)
  • Nicolas Claxton (well being and security protocols)

We’re clearly not asking James to go on the market and be prime Lou Williams off the bench, as each Durant and Irving, who mixed to attain 74 factors on 22-of-40 (55%) from the ground in Sunday’s win over the Suns, will likely be accessible to hold the load on offense.

With no Brown or Chiozza to supply a set off the bench, nevertheless, James will doubtless be tasked with breaking down the Raptors’ second unit. If he was put on this place previous to the commerce deadline, that’d be a troublesome ask, however Toronto traded away all of its depth, that means he ought to have the ability to regular the ship whereas Irving catches his breath on the sidelines.

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