2014 is gone and 2015 is upon us! I was 12-10 in my Toronto picks in ’14. I hope to get a streak going with my prediction today as the 24-10 Raptors host the 13-24 Charlotte Hornets this evening.
(13-24) Charlotte Hornets @ (24-10) Toronto Raptors
Probable starting line-ups:
Charlotte – Point Guard – Kemba Walker Shooting Guard – Gerald Henderson C- Bismack Biyombo Small Forward – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Power Forward – Cody Zeller
Toronto – PG – Kyle Lowry SG – Terrence Ross C – Jonas Valanciunas SF – Landry Fields PF – Amir Johnson
Charlotte – Points Per Game – Kemba Walker 18.4 Rebounds Per Game – Al Jefferson 8.2 Assists Per Game – Kemba Walker 5.5
Toronto – PPG – Kyle Lowry 20.6 RPG – Jonas Valanciunas 8.6 APG – Kyle Lowry 7.6
Team Scoring: (with league ranking in parentheses)
Charlotte – Points For (Per Game) – 95.4 (25th) Points Against (Per Game) – 99.5 (18th)
Toronto – PF – 108.1 (3rd) PA – 101.6 (22nd)
The Charlotte Hornets come in to this evening’s contest winners of their last 3 games. Last night they were victorious at home 98-94 versus New Orleans. Point guard Kemba Walker led the team with 31 points on 12 of 24 shooting in 36 minutes. He was 6 of 8 from the foul line. He also had 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Shooting guard Gerald Henderson scored 16 points on 7 of 17 shooting in 36 minutes. He also had 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. He was 4 of 10 from the field in 36 minutes. The team shot 43% from the field, 28.6% from the 3 point line (4-14), and 76.9% from the free throw line (20-26). The Hornets trailed the Pelicans by 3 points going in to the 4th quarter but out-scored their opposition 31-24 in the final period. Charlotte is 5-12 on the road this season. They have won their last 2 road games. During their 3 game winning streak they have won all 3 games by a margin of less than 10 points. They have held their 4 opponents under 100 points. Tonight is the 2nd game of a back to back. They are 4-6 in the 2nd game of a back to back so far this season. Their next game is Saturday at New York.
The Toronto Raptors have dropped 3 straight games. On Sunday they were defeated at Phoenix 125-109. Center Jonas Valanciunas led the team with a double-double as he scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. He was 9 of 14 from the field in 33 minutes. Point guard Kyle Lowry scored 19 points on 6 of 17 shooting in 34 minutes. He also dished out 7 assists. Reserve power forward James Johnson and reserve shooting guard Louis Williams each chipped in with 17 points. Johnson was 7 of 9 from the field in 26 bench minutes. He also had 7 rebounds. Williams was 4 0f 1o from the field and 7 of 7 from the free throw line in 28 minutes. The team shot 45.8% from the field, 34.6% from the 3 point line (9-26), and 82.8% from the free throw line (24-29). The Raptors out-rebounded the Suns 43-41 in the contest. The Raptors faced a 22-point deficit heading to the 4th but did out-score Phoenix 33-27 in the final period. Toronto is 14-3 at home this season. They have won their last 5 home games. Their last 2 opponents have scored 125 or more points. Tonight is the start of a 6 game home stand. Their next game is Saturday at home versus Boston.
Last season Charlotte was victorious in all 3 meetings with Toronto. The Hornets have won the last 4 meetings with the Raptors. After tonight the 2 teams play 3 more times this season, March 6th at Charlotte, April 8th at Charlotte, and April 15th at Toronto.
The Raptors were abused in their last 2 road games so they should be thrilled to get back home. I think they’ll have an edge about them tonight with this being the start of a 6 game home stand. I’ll be surprised if Charlotte stays within 15. Take the Raptors -12 (1.90) (Bet365)
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