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Starting Five: Tall order tonight vs. Toronto

3/9/2014

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams knows just how big Monday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors is.

“We dropped two to them,” Williams said, referencing the team’s 1-2 record versus Toronto. “We need it. We’re chasing them in the standings. They’re at the top of our division right now.”

The Nets (31-30) trail the first-place Raptors (35-26) by four games in the Atlantic Division standings with 21 games left.

Brooklyn should’ve beaten Toronto the most recent time the two teams met, but Williams committed two turnovers in the final minute and the Nets ended up throwing away a win.

Monday’s game marks the beginning of a huge stretch for the Nets, who face playoff-bound Miami (Wednesday) and Washington (Friday) on the road later in the week.

Brooklyn has won seven in a row at home, but is also 4-10 in the second game of back-to-backs.

And who knows who’s going to be available for the Nets, given the uncertain injury statuses of Kevin Garnett (back), Paul Pierce (shoulder) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle).

Given how easy Toronto’s schedule is the rest of the way, the Nets need this one, like Williams said, in order to make up some valuable ground.

Question: How do you think the Nets will do Monday night? Let us know in the comments section.

Stat so: The Nets had an NBA-season low one offensive rebound Sunday night. Overall, they were outrebounded 53-27, but they registered 14 steals. That's the sixth straight time they’ve had as many as 12 steals in a game.

“It’s a trade-off we’re going to have to live with,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “That’s not just tonight, that’s been the whole season -- actually since the new year started. We have to find a way, since we’re not a very good rebounding team, to create opportunities and that’s by forcing turnovers.”

The Nets are 11-1 when they shoot 50 percent or better from the field; 13-0 when holding their opponents to less than 90 points; 23-5 when scoring 100-plus points; and they’ve won 23 in a row when leading at the half.

Up next: Nets versus Raptors at Barclays Center