|Nets, Raptors try to cure same ills vs. one another|
The Brooklyn Nets will meet a team that shares a similar problem when they visit the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.
Each team has a winning record, but each team has had problems defeating teams that are also above .500.
After losing 112-92 to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, the Raptors are 16-8, but 3-8 against teams with winning records.
The Nets are 13-11 but 3-6 against teams with winning records -- and 0-3 on the road. They also have lost eight straight at Toronto.
More recently, the Raptors have dropped four of their past five games while the Nets have won four of their past six despite losing 113-108 Wednesday to the visiting Charlotte Hornets.
The Nets led by as many as 20 points in the first half against Charlotte and still were ahead by as many as 17 during the third quarter. The Hornets switched to a zone defense in the second half and had some results. The Raptors, no doubt, will take note since they have used a zone defense effectively on occasion.
"We definitely got stagnant after they went to the zone, which is pretty surprising with the caliber of shooters we have on this team," Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie told reporters. "We've just got to make quicker decisions as a unit, get those guys shots."
The Nets have gone 9-4 without Kyrie Irving (shoulder injury). They also are without Caris LeVert (thumb surgery). It is not certain when either will return.
Wilson Chandler will be available Sunday when the Nets visit the Philadelphia 76ers as he completes his 25-game PED suspension. Iman Shumpert was waived to clear a roster spot.
The Raptors went 8-2 when both Serge Ibaka (ankle) and Kyle Lowry (thumb) were injured but have struggled since their return.
Considering the Raptors lost Kawhi Leonard to free agency after winning the NBA championship, their continued success has impressed Dinwiddie.
"It speaks to their championship mentality," Dinwiddie said. "Obviously they lost a great player, but it speaks to their collective effort and their collective will to win."
The Raptors recent problems coincide with a drop-off in shooting. In their first 19 games, they shot 46.3 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from 3-point range.
In the past five games, they have shot 39.6 percent from the field and 27.2 percent on 3-point attempts.
Pascal Siakam shot 39 percent from 3-point range in the first 19 games, but 20.8 percent in the past five.
"Continue to shoot them," Siakam told the Toronto Sun. "Just continue to play our offense and making sure that we make plays for each other, and take the shot that's there. We can't shy away from it because they're not going in."
Lowry and Ibaka shot a combined 1-for-16 Wednesday.
"They're just obviously rusty from the long, long layoff that they both had and we've got to get them worked back in there," coach Nick Nurse said. "Our best version of our team is with those two guys clicking at a high level like they were. I thought before they got injured they were both playing maybe the best they'd ever played."
Fred VanVleet (right-knee contusion) has missed the past two games and is listed as questionable for Saturday.
--Field Level Media