The phrase “must-win game” is one of the most overused remarks in sports. We constantly seem to forget that all regular season contests count the same at their core. I’ll refrain from tagging tonight’s contest for the Brooklyn Nets that way.
However, even with it being only game number two, some pressure on this team to come away with a victory does feel present.
After a blowout loss at home the other night, the Nets find themselves 0-1 to start their season for a second consecutive year. Although a one game hole is small and easy to climb out of, the way the Nets dug themselves into it on Tuesday was vile.
The visiting New Orleans Pelicans bullied Brooklyn, controlling the glass, scoring inside with ease, and forcing turnovers seemingly every other time down the floor. Ben Simmons‘s debut was one to forget, Kyrie Irving was flat, and another fantastic Kevin Durant performance went down the drain.
Following such a rocky offseason that almost included exits for star players, coaches, and executives, Brooklyn needs a hot start perhaps more than any other NBA team right now. With that noted, tonight’s contest vs the Toronto Raptors feels a bit more important than most other October affairs. Let’s get into it.
Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors Odds, Moneyline, Over/Under
The Nets come into tonight’s contest favored by a 2.5 point spread. Their moneyline odds are at -148 and the game’s over/under currently sits at 227 points. All these numbers are via FanDuel.
Oddsmakers are likely looking at each team’s first game as a wash ahead of this contest. While the Raptors beat a tough Cleveland Cavaliers team and the Nets were smacked around by the Pels, Brooklyn remains the favorite.
This nod from Vegas is minimal though, as it should be (we can’t just act like the aforementioned games never happened). The Raptors also came up with a whopping 15 steals during their prior game vs Cleveland. They also secured 12 offensive boards. The glass and turnovers put the nail in Brooklyn’s coffin on Tuesday, so these numbers from Toronto do not exactly bode well.
The ideology here has to be that there’s no way the Nets can be as bad as they were on Tuesday again tonight. Inefficient outings for Irving and Simmons lasting just 23 minutes are rare occurrences indeed. Fringe starter Joe Harris may return as well which also has to help Brooklyn’s case.
This all makes tonight’s contest tough to predict, hence why the spread is barely one possession. However, given Brooklyn’s rebounding issues, him playing center this year, and his scoring talents, Pascal Siakam at +122 to record a double-double feels like a safe bet. I’d give that a try before picking a winner tonight.
Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors Starting Lineups
The Nets will run with the same starting lineup as last time out. Joe Harris will play but come off the bench.
Brooklyn Nets Starting Five
- PG: Ben Simmons
- SG: Kyrie Irving
- SF: Kevin Durant
- PF: Royce O’Neale
- C: Nic Claxton
Toronto Raptors Starting Five
- PG: Fred VanVleet
- SG: Gary Trent Jr.
- SF: O.G. Anunoby
- PF: Scottie Barnes
- C: Pascal Siakam
Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors Prediction
Admittedly, I’m leaning positive here and expecting the Nets to rebound from their ugly start to the season. There’s no way they can be that awful again. Right?
Regardless, Claxton defended Siakam well the last time these two met last year. Durant averaged 32.5 points per game against Toronto last season as well. Simmons will also likely play more disciplined tonight having learned from his foul-out performance.
As for Irving, I expect him to go nuclear. With respect to VanVleet’s stingy defense, Uncle Drew is another animal. He hasn’t played the Raptors since April of 2021 and rarely goes two games in a row scoring less than 20 points. Take the Nets to win, cover, and the over on Irving’s points if you’re feeling hot.
Prediction: Brooklyn Nets 122, Toronto Raptors 110
Brooklyn Nets Next Up
The road gets a bit tougher for Brooklyn after this contest, starting with the team’s first away matchup of the season vs the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis has been dominating the Nets long before they became a juggernaut in the West last year.
The last time Brooklyn beat Grit and Grind was in 2019, having lost six straight at their hands. For reference, D’Angelo Russell and Rodions Kurucs started for the Nets the last time they won, as did Mike Conley and Marc Gasol for Memphis. Let’s hope they turn the page on this losing chapter.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change