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Injuries and a suspension have Raptors down to eight healthy players vs. Nets

Dec 12, 2012, 7:23 PM EDT

Toronto Raptors' Calderon of Spain, Kleiza of Lithuania and Valanciunas of Lithuania, sit on the bench during the final minutes of their game against the Los Angeles Clippers during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles

The Nets have been struggling lately, and will head into Toronto on Wednesday night riding a five-game losing streak.

Miami, Oklahoma City, and most recently, the Knicks have accounted for three of those losses, so it’s not anything to be too concerned about. And given the situation with the Raptors, it’ll be almost impossible for the Nets to fall for a sixth straight time.

Toronto is down to just eight healthy players, and the ones who will be available aren’t exactly the team’s best. Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry are both among the injured, and are usually in the starting lineup.

The Raptors are also without Linus Kleiza, Alan Anderson, and Landry Fields, along with the suspended Amir Johnson.

From the Associated Press:

“We’ve got bad luck everywhere,” leading scorer DeMar DeRozan said.

For Raptors coach Dwane Casey, the advice to his players is simple.

“This is when you have to pull your pants up — I think I heard the term `big boy pants’ – and be ready to play,” Casey said during the shootaround. “That’s where I am. I’m a fighter. I’m a scrapper. I’m still with this team. We’re working hard … I’m not shying away from this challenge and this opportunity.”

We need to retire the term “big boy pants,” especially after the way a certain broadcaster used it in describing the way the Lakers lost a game earlier this season.

That aside, it’s been a brutal season in Toronto thus far. Things aren’t going to get any easier Wednesday against a Nets team that desperately needs to begin to get things turned around.

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