Raptors-Nets Preview

The Brooklyn Nets are enjoying their longest win streak of the season, and now they are even winning at home.

The Toronto Raptors are feeling good about themselves as well with a three-game run as they tune up for the playoffs.

The visiting Raptors expect to play again without point guard Kyle Lowry on Friday night, and the Nets hope to take advantage and post their sixth straight victory.

Brooklyn (34-40) has used this win streak to move into playoff position in the Eastern Conference. The Nets blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter before Brook Lopez’s follow shot with 2 seconds left gave them a 100-98 win at New York on Wednesday.

"We’ve been playing hard each and every game, trying to take it one game at a time, trying to stay in the winning column, that’s it," guard Joe Johnson said.

Lopez is averaging 26.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and shooting 61.7 percent during a 7-1 surge for Brooklyn, which last won six straight during a seven-game run Jan. 2-15, 2013. The Nets are the only team with a better record on the road than at home, where they look for a season-high fourth straight victory.

Deron Williams turned in his best game of this run with 26 points, seven assists and seven boards against the Knicks.

”We’re just finding ways to win ballgames,” Williams said. ”We start off great and have some lulls. Tonight we had two, but at the end we buckled down and did what we had to do to win.”

Williams should find things easier since he won’t have to face Lowry, expected to miss a fifth straight game with back spasms. Lowry is averaging 10.0 assists in the season series, with Toronto (45-30) taking two of three.

The Raptors improved to 5-4 without Lowry with Wednesday’s 113-99 victory at Minnesota. Reserve guard Lou Williams had 18 points to lead seven players in double figures.

"Kyle helped us with a lot of things, defense, offense, passing, everything so we just have to kind of always pick our game up and make sure everyone is playing a little better than they normally do to pick up for the absence of Kyle," said forward Terrence Ross, who scored 16.

DeMar DeRozan scored 17 one game after a 42-point, 11-rebound effort in Monday’s 99-96 home win over Houston.

The Raptors’ next three games are against teams trying to get into the playoffs, including matchups with Boston and Charlotte. Toronto is tied with Chicago for the East’s third-best mark.

"We’re fighting for something too," coach Dwane Casey said. "We’re fighting for home court, we’re fighting for respect."

This is the first time these teams have met since Brooklyn acquired Thaddeus Young from Minnesota on Feb. 19. Young has 20 points in two games after missing two with a hyperextended knee.

Lopez will likely be defended by fellow 7-footer Jonas Valanciunas, who has made 16 of 19 shots for 39 points with 31 rebounds in the season series.