Nets-Raptors Preview

The banged-up Brooklyn Nets continue to sink, with a five-game losing streak that has dropped them to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They'll try to end their skid Tuesday night in a matchup with the first-place Toronto Raptors, who are seeking a third straight victory. Brooklyn (3-10) fell 109-97 to Detroit on Sunday, booed by the Barclays Center crowd in the second half when they were outscored 65-46. The Nets continue to play without point guard Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez, who are nursing sprained ankles. ''Tough times right now,'' said power forward Kevin Garnett, who had four points on 2-of-9 shooting. The Nets desperately need more production from Garnett and Paul Pierce. A career 21.7 points-per-game scorer, Pierce is averaging 13.0 and 37.9 percent shooting - both the lowest marks of his career - while Garnett is scoring 6.5 points per game, also a career low. ''It's tough when - look at the record, 3-10, 3-11, whatever our record is - and know we've dug ourselves quite a big hole, no matter if we've got the injuries or not,'' Pierce said. ''We still feel like we're talented enough to win these type of games.'' Brooklyn has been especially poor on the road, going 1-7 and allowing 104.8 points a contest. The Raptors (6-7) beat Washington 96-88 on Friday as six players scored in double figures, led by DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay with 17 apiece. That allowed Toronto to overcome a 37-point performance from the Wizards' John Wall. "He's our star player," coach Dwane Casey said of Gay, who had 11 points in the fourth quarter. "So he's going to have a lot of roles: leader, point forward, rebounder, defender. He's our guy, and we're going to have to roll with it." Gay is averaging 20.2 points but shooting only 38.1 percent from the field. Toronto is 1-5 when he scores at least 20. A bright spot for Toronto has been the improved play of second-year center Jonas Valanciunas, who had 11 points and a season-high 13 rebounds Friday. Valanciunas' 7.8 boards per game have helped the Raptors to a one-game lead in the Atlantic Division in the early going. "JV is always going to play hard, that's him man," DeRozan said. "Even when he gets a little frustrated, he's going to figure out what he can do to help us win on both ends of the court." The Nets won three of four meetings with the Raptors last season, but Toronto has won six of the past eight matchups with the Nets at Air Canada Centre.