A major test awaits the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets will host the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 28 in a matchup of two top-tier Atlantic Division teams.
Since New York recently launched sports betting and major platforms are soon coming to Canada, bringing with them offers like the BetRivers Ontario Bonus Code, games like this are the major attraction for sports fans.
There will be a lot on the table when the action tips off at Barclays Center.
Here is what to watch for when the Nets host the Raptors.
Can Brooklyn Pull Out Another Win?
The Nets just barely came out on the winning side last time these teams met.
Brooklyn downed Toronto in overtime, 131-129, after trailing 100-91 in the fourth quarter. Following a Patty Mills 3-pointer that forced overtime, the Nets did enough in the extra period to eclipse the Raptors.
Though injuries and other issues have often plagued the team, Brooklyn has put forth impressive performances throughout the season, and its overtime win over Toronto was certainly one of them.
It proved the Nets can beat this Raptors team, and they’ll look to prove it again this time around.
“I like how we responded throughout the whole game,” Durant said after that win, according to The Associated Press. “Hitting them first and taking their punch — 44-25 in the third — then turning it up in the fourth quarter and overtime, man … I’m so proud to just be a part of this group and play with these young dudes.”
With the combined caliber of both these teams, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Monday’s game is another close one.
If it is, the Nets will have to bring back those late-game heroics to down the Raptors again and maintain momentum throughout the post-All-Star break regular season.
Will Kevin Durant play?
Kevin Durant is one of the league’s best players, and he certainly showed it in Brooklyn’s previous win over Toronto.
The superstar tallied a triple-double with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists, helping the Nets overcome a strong Raptors team in extra time. Whether or not he’ll have the chance to do the same this time around is unclear, though.
Durant hasn’t played since Jan. 15, when he suffered a sprained MCL against the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s undergoing the process to get back and recently began performing on-court work, but his status for Monday’s game is still unclear.
The difference between having Durant available and not is massive, as he’s not just one of the best current players; he’s one of the best of all time. The 6-foot-10 forward can do everything: he can score nearly at will whether from long-distance or inside, rebound consistently and find teammates for scores with precise lead passes.
Fans, bettors, and the Raptors themselves will certainly be monitoring Durant’s status as tip-off approaches. Whether or not he’s on the court could be a big indicator of how the game will ultimately turn out.
How Will Goran Dragic Fit In?
Brooklyn recently added another player to its rotation, one who previously played for Toronto.
News broke on Feb. 21 that Goran Dragic is joining the Nets, capping off a whirlwind cycle for the veteran guard. He played for the Raptors before being traded to the San Antonio Spurs; he then agreed to a contract buyout with the team, thus becoming a free agent.
There are multiple reasons Dragic could fit in well with the Nets and contribute early, particularly on Monday. While other star players will command more attention, Dragic’s impact could be heavily felt during the game.
Dragic played with Nets coach Steve Nash for several seasons while both were on the Phoenix Suns. Their existing relationship should bode well for Dragic’s chemistry with Brooklyn, and his veteran status should command respect from the roster’s other members.
An All-Star in 2018, Dragic averages around 14 points and five assists per game in his career. Though he’s 35-years-old and likely in the latter stages of his career, he could still provide solid minutes and leadership for a Nets team hoping to make a deep postseason run. Plus, with Brooklyn’s recent trade of James Harden to acquire Ben Simmons, the Nets could use more of a veteran presence to hold everything together as superstars learn to mesh together.
The addition of Dragic is a key storyline ahead of Monday’s game, and his impact is definitely something to watch for when the Raptors come to Barclays Center.
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