December 16, 2017 / 3:25 AM / in 2 months

Preview: Nets at Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are a stellar 9-1 at home this season, and that mark figures to improve when they host the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. Toronto has recorded eight consecutive wins over the Nets by an average of 11.3 points and hasn’t lost in the all-time series since April 3, 2015.

The Raptors have won seven of their last eight overall games and have matched the second-best start in franchise history at 18-8. Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan matched his season high of 37 points in Wednesday’s 115-109 victory at Phoenix and is averaging 25.9 over his last seven games. Brooklyn dropped a 111-104 decision to the New York Knicks on Thursday as it made just 12-of-42 3-point attempts, with the 28.6 percentage marking the fourth straight game in which the team shot below 30 percent from beyond the arc. “Just the ball not going in for us right now,” Brooklyn swingman Allen Crabbe told reporters. “Just one of those stretches. We will be better, though. That is the good thing about the league, you get another (game) next day.”

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), TSN (Toronto)

ABOUT THE NETS (11-16): Point guard Spencer Dinwiddie scored a career-best 26 points in the loss to the Knicks and continues to take advantage of the opportunity that arose after starter D‘Angelo Russell suffered a knee injury. Dinwiddie, who also had seven rebounds and seven assists in the setback, is averaging 15.4 points since becoming a starter and bounced back from a 4-for-14 showing (1-for-11 from 3-point range) in Tuesday’s win over Washington. “I was just fortunate to hit shots,” Dinwiddie told reporters. “Last game, I couldn’t hit the side of a barn, so today they went in and looked like a better game. That’s really it.”

ABOUT THE RAPTORS (18-8): Center Jonas Valanciunas contributed 20 points and 11 rebounds in the victory over Phoenix and is averaging 21.5 (on 15-of-22 shooting) and 13 over his last two games. The splurge increases the 7-footer’s season averages to 11 points and 7.7 rebounds, and Valanciunas is hoping to build on the success. “I‘m learning. I‘m still learning. There’s a lot of things to learn ahead of me,” he told reporters. “I’ve been working a lot. I’ve been shooting a lot. Now I’ve just got to find the spacing where I can space out on the 3 and shoot it.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. DeRozan has recorded 86 career 30-point performances, second in Raptors history behind Vince Carter (91).

2. Brooklyn F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored a career-best 25 points against the Knicks and is averaging 18.4 over his last five contests.

3. Toronto PF Serge Ibaka matched his season best of 21 points and collected a season-high 13 rebounds on Wednesday.

PREDICTION: Raptors 119, Nets 103

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