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Raptors, Nets battle in In-Season Tournament group stage finale


While the Toronto Raptors have been eliminated from the NBA In-Season Tournament, there is plenty left to play for when they take on the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

The Nets are third in East Group C behind the first-place Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics and need a win to have any hope of claiming the one wild card spot and reaching the knockout stage. Five teams, including the Nets and Celtics, sit at 2-1 in tournament play.

The Raptors' chance to make it to the knockout stage ended last week but Tuesday’s game will be a chance for Toronto to bring its regular-season record to .500 following Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The loss snapped the Raps’ two-game win streak and sent the team to the bottom of the Atlantic Division standings. 

“I feel like we were in control for most of the game, but we gave them that one stretch in the third that gave them life,” said Raptors centre Jakob Poeltl following the loss. “We gave up some offensive rebounds and made some sloppy mistakes. That’s how you lose a close game.”

The Raptors (8-9) now sit at 1-5 on the road against Eastern Conference opponents ahead of their tilt with the Nets at Barclay’s Center. 

Poeltl set season highs in points (18) and rebounds (13) in the loss, while Pascal Siakam added 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. 

Forward Scottie Barnes continued his campaign for Most Improved Player adding 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists. 

The Nets (8-8) are looking for their third-straight win and are coming off a record-setting performance in a 118-109 win against the Chicago Bulls. Brooklyn drilled an NBA season-high 25 three-pointers, including a franchise record 11 in the second quarter.

“We were making shots tonight,” Brooklyn coach Jacques Vaughn said. “The ball was being sprayed all over the place and so very unselfishly, and we got rewarded for that.”

Point guard Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points while Lonnie Walker IV and Royce O’Neale each made six shots from deep in the victory. 

Nets leading scorer Cam Thomas (ankle) is listed as doubtful to play in Tuesday’s contest. It would be his ninth straight absence. 

Tuesday marks the first meeting between the division rivals this season after the Nets took all four meetings in 2022-23.