Nets-Raptors Preview: Let’s Go Raptors!


Tonight, the New Jersey Nets will be squaring off with the Toronto Raptors in their last game before moving to Brooklyn next season. Honestly, nobody actually cares about this game at all. In fact, both teams would prefer to lose this game. Each team is 22-43, so whichever team loses will have a better chance at getting the top pick in the NBA draft. I have been rooting for the Nets to win even since they have been eliminated from the playoffs, but how can any Net fan root for them in this game? Expect both teams to bench their better players for most of the game.

The Nets are 2-1 against Toronto this season, with the one loss coming at home (of course). They won their only meeting in Toronto this year. All time, the New Jersey Nets are 32-32 against the Toronto Raptors, and this will be the last time the two teams face each other while the Nets are still in the Garden State. I guess that would be motivation to win this game. The Raptors have lost 4 straight games and 8 of their last 10 in their tanking process. The Nets have lost 5 straight, but they have all been to far superior teams, so I don’t consider what they are doing as tanking.

“Injuries” will have a major impact on this game. The word injuries is in parentheses because I really doubt that any of the players have serious injuries; they just don’t feel like playing in meaningless games at the end of the season. For Toronto, two of their best players, Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon, are out. At least Demar DeRozan is expected to play, but don’t expect him to get too many minutes. For the Nets, Jordan Farmar, Damion James, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Shelden Williams, and maybe Gerald Wallace are all out. That’s nothing new.

If you want to get a more in depth look at what these last two days of the regular season mean to the Nets, click here. We will be posting live notes during the game and a recap following. If you actually decide to torture yourself and watch this game, check in with FRWD during timeouts or the end of quarters to see our opinions on the game.

Key matchups:

Sundiata Gaines vs. Ben Uzoh. Advantage: I DON’T EVEN CARE I’M TOO EXCITED!!!

What a battle this will be! It is a battle of the third string point guard for the 2010-11 Nets vs. the fourth string point guard for those same Nets. After last season, the Nets decided to keep Sundiata and let Big Ben go. This may be a revenge game for Big Ben who is playing his former team. I hope Uzoh has a big game. I actually can’t think of two worse point guards in the NBA who have started a game this year.

Marshon Brooks vs. Demar DeRozan. Advantage: DeRozan

DeRozan is the only talented player on the Raptors roster now that Bargnani and Calderon are out. Marshon has finished the season strong after slumping in the middle, and I think he will have a good game in this one. Expect him to score 20 points, as he will probably not get much rest in this game. DeRozan has not had as good a season as some predicted he would have this year, but he is still the best scorer on Toronto.

Gerald Wallace/Gerald Green/Deshawn Stevenson vs. Alan Anderson. Advantage: ???

Who here has ever heard of Alan Anderson? I sure haven’t. I thought he was a random D-League rookie, but it turns out he played two seasons before in the NBA in 2005-06 and 06-07. Which team did he play for, you ask? The Charlotte Bobcats, of course. He is somehow averaging 9 ppg this year but all of his points probably come in fourth quarter garbage time in Raptors blowout losses. I have no idea who will start at the small forward position tonight for the Nets. I hope Gerald Wallace doesn’t play because he is kind of injured, but he has said he would play unless the Nets told him that he can’t. I hope he isn’t insulted if the Nets decide to bench him and I hope it doesn’t ruin his relationship with the team. If Crash doesn’t start, who knows who Avery will choose between Green and Deshawn. I hope it’s Green.

Kris Humphries vs. James Johnson. Advantage: Humphries

James Johnson is most known for getting dunked on by Lebron in the playoffs when he was on the Bulls a few years ago. This year he’s averaging about 9 ppg and 5 rpg. Nothing special. The Hump has had another very good season, but there’s no reason to play him for too many minutes tonight. The problem is that the Nets only have 3 active big guys in this game, which means that Humphries may have to play more minutes than I would want him to. Expect him to finish with yet another Hump Double-Double.

Jordan Williams vs. Amir Johnson. Advantage: Johnson

Amir Johnson is a guy who never lived up to his potential. J-Will has done better late in the season than he had done early on, but he needs Deron Williams to play point guard for him to be effective. Expect this to be a very boring matchup.

Again, I will repeat how important it is that the Nets lose this game. It will only make the slim chance of them getting a top 3 pick in the draft even less by winning. My bold prediction in this game is that no player will play over 28 minutes in this game. This will be because the starters will all play limited minutes because both teams want to lose this game. My score prediction is that the Nets will win, 101-96. Avery Johnson never lets his teams quit on him, and the Raptors will use that to their advantage. The Nets really can’t do anything right this season.