I was incorrect on my last Raptors free pick as the Raptors (-1) were downed 103-94 at Charlotte on Friday night. I am now 22-26 in Raptors free picks. Tonight the 38-24 Toronto Raptors travel to Oklahoma City to tip off with the 34-28 Thunder.
(38-24) Toronto Raptors @ (34-28) Oklahoma City Thunder
Probable starting line-ups:
Toronto – PG – Kyle Lowry SG – DeMar DeRozan C – Jonas Valanciunas SF – Terrence Ross PF – Amir Johnson
Oklahoma City – PG – Russell Westbrook SG – Andre Roberson C – Enes Kanter SF – Kyle Singler PF – Serge Ibaka
Toronto – PPG – DeMar DeRozan 18.7 RPG – Jonas Valanciunas 8.7 APG – Kyle Lowry 7.0
Oklahoma City – PPG – Mo Williams 21.6 RPG – Al Jefferson 8.8 APG – Mo Williams 8.9
Team Scoring: (with league ranking in parentheses)
Toronto – PF – 104.4 (5th) PA – 100.9 (22nd)
Oklahoma City – PF – 102.2 (10th) PA – 99.5 (14th)
The Toronto Raptors have lost 2 in a row and 7 of their last 8 games. On Friday they were defeated 103-94 at Charlotte. Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan led the team in scoring with 30 points on 14 of 26 shooting in 39 minutes. Point guard Kyle Lowry netted 25 points on 9 of 22 shooting in 38 minutes. He also had 5 assists and 5 rebounds. He was 5 of 9 from the 3 point line. Center Jonas Valanciunas contributed with 9 points and 6 rebounds. He was 2 of 3 from the field and 5 of 5 from the free throw line in 23 minutes. Small forward Terrence Ross chipped in with 8 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. He was 3 of 10 from the field in 32 minutes. The team shot 40.7% from the field, 31.8% from the 3 point line (7-22), and 86.7% from the free throw line (13-15). They were manhandled on the boards as they were out-rebounded 56-32 in the game. The Raptors were outscored 28-18 in the 2nd quarter. Toronto is 17-13 on the road this season. Tonight is the 2nd game of a 3 game road trip. Their next game is Tuesday at the San Antonio Spurs.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have won 2 of their last 3 games. On Thursday they were narrowly defeated 108-105 at the Chicago Bulls. Point guard Russell Westbrook led the way with 43 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. He was 14 of 32 from the field, 3 of 5 from the 3 point line, and 12 of 15 from the foul line in 38 minutes. Power forward Serge Ibaka scored 25 points on 12 of 19 shooting in 46 minutes. He also had 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Backup point guard D.J. Augustin was the only other Thunder player in double figures as he scored 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting in 19 minutes off the bench. The team shot 46.6% from the field, 40% from the 3 point line (8-20), and 78.9% from the free throw line (15-19). The league’s #1 rebounding team, the Thunder, was out-rebounded by the #2 rebounding team 48-41. The Thunder took a 7 point lead in to the 4th but were outscored 36-26 in the final period. Oklahoma City is 20-8 at home this season. Tonight is the start of a 4 game home stand. Their next game is Wednesday at home versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
Toronto was victorious 100-88 at home in their first meeting this season versus Oklahoma City. Tonight is the final meeting of the season between the Raptors and Thunder.
The Raptors can’t seem get out of this funk they are in and it’s cost them in the standings as they’ve dropped from the #2 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs race to the #4 spot. Meanwhile Russell Westbrook continues to amaze as he tries to hold down the fort for the Thunder until they get Kevin Durant back from the injury. The Lowry-Westbrook match-up at point guard should be an interesting one. I like the Thunder at home, especially with the Raptors struggling like they have lately. Take the Thunder -6 (1.90) (Bet365)
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