After defeating the Cavaliers 108-105, the Toronto Raptors (1-0) travel to face the Brooklyn Nets (0-1), who are coming off a 130-108 loss to the Pelicans. Seth Curry and TJ Warren are out for the Nets, while Joe Harris is probable. On the other side, Otto Porter Jr remains unavailable. However, Chris Boucher and Khem Birch are questionable.
Can the Nets log their first win of the season? Check out below for odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups.
Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets Betting Odds
Brooklyn enters this contest favored, as the spread is -2.5 Nets with their moneyline at -134. Toronto’s moneyline can be found at +125, which means they must win 45% of the time to be profitable. The 226 over under line is in the middle of the pack for Friday games.
Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets Prediction
This game is a toss up, and the margin of victory will be extremely tight for whichever team wins. I am going with the Raptors to cover the spread instead of their moneyline because the odds are not tantalizing enough to risk the 2.5 points in what is probably a one score contest. The line would ideally shift to +3.5, but it’s doubtful this occurs.
One word to describe Toronto’s defense: disruptive. They possess extreme defensive versatility and pterodactyl-esque wingspans. Therefore, the Raptors can nearly switch everything while immediately closing any passing lanes. Toronto led the NBA in deflections last season at 17.6 per game, and they just produced 15 steals against Cleveland’s talented ball handlers.
The Raptors defense is especially a nightmare for the Nets. Irving and Durant love to hunt mismatches for isolation attempts, but that strategy will not be effective because the Raptors can continuously switch excellent, lengthy defenders on them. They will subsequently often settle for contested pull up jump shots, which doesn’t produce the shot quality that normally wins games. Meanwhile, Brooklyn cannot adequately expose Toronto’s middling rim protection, which is their main defensive weakness. The Nets will still get to the basket a decent amount, but it won’t be at the necessary rate. Nic Claxton’s passive role on offense and inability to post up is a huge reason behind this failure.
Besides points off of turnovers, I expect Toronto to receive plenty of second chance points. The Raptors were 1st in Offensive Rebound Percentage last season, while the Nets were 30th in Defensive Rebound Percentage. Those trends held in their season openers too. The Pelicans grabbed 21 offensive rebounds versus the Nets, and the Raptors snagged 12 offensive rebounds against a Cavaliers squad featuring skyscrapers Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.
On offense, Toronto launches a balanced attack that emphasizes versatility and spacing. The Raptors were 13/30 (43.3%) from three against Cleveland, and any of their starters are threats from distance. In addition, all five starters can either spot up or shoot off the dribble, which opens up countless offensive opportunities. However, the Raptors offense can stall because none of their players are premier offensive threats. This deficiency is a reason behind why I expect the game to be very close. Look for Toronto to emphatically hunt Irving and force Claxton to defend in space on the perimeter.
Overall, the Nets have the two best players in Durant and Irving who have the potential to score against anyone and dominate games. The actual matchup and context favors the Raptors though. Ben Simmons is extremely rusty, and Seth Curry remains out for Brooklyn. Toronto can rack up points off of turnovers and offensive rebounds while matching the Nets’ three-point shooting. Chris Boucher and Khem Birch also may return, which would provide a huge boost to Toronto’s bench. The Raptors will have a much easier time scoring versus a Nets squad that must grind for everything.
- Raptors are 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Brooklyn
- Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Brooklyn
Which stars will shine the brightest and set the tone? Check out below for their matchups.
Kevin Durant vs. OG Anunoby & Scottie Barnes
Durant is one of the greatest three-level scorers ever, and he’s a crutch for the Nets offense. If he performs poorly, then Brooklyn’s offense is de-fanged and relatively harmless. Unfortunately for the Nets, Anunoby (6’7”, 7’2” wingspan) and Barnes (6’8”, 7’2” wingspan) are exceptional defenders who will both challenge for All-Defensive Team spots. Although Durant’s shot is extremely tough to bother, this duo actually can accomplish this feat. They will get physical with Durant and allow no free baskets. If Anunoby and Barnes hinder Durant, then the Raptors have a fantastic chance to win this game.
NAH not today 🚫 pic.twitter.com/EanJ89dIn3
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 20, 2022
Kyrie Irving vs. Fred VanVleet
Which combo guard can boost their respective offenses? Kyrie struggled against the Pelicans, as he had 15 points on 6/19 from the field. Because Ben Simmons injects a playmaking boost, Kyrie has the freedom to focus more attention on scoring rather than playmaking. With Durant facing fearsome wings and constant double teams, it’s essential for the Nets that Kyrie produces 27+ points on desirable efficiency.
VanVleet, on the other hand, has more responsibility than Kyrie as a playmaker. He must bring a steady presence and orchestrate sets when the offense stalls. VanVleet is also a proficient three-point shooter, which removes the defense’s ability to sag towards the paint. If he can efficiently shoot and run the offense, then Toronto’s offense is in a great spot.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 20, 2022
Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineups
Toronto Raptors Injuries: Otto Porter Jr (O), Chris Boucher (Q), Khem Birch (Q)
Brooklyn Nets Injuries: Seth Curry (O), TJ Warren (O), Joe Harris (P)