Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors Preview
Both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors would love nothing more than to be able to move up in their respective conference playoff races, but with just 10 games remaining, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. Oklahoma City and Toronto will face off in an interconference matchup for the second time this week in a game that could impact their position when the postseason starts.
The Thunder are currently in a four-way tie at fifth place in the Western Conference with the San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, and Los Angeles Clippers. All four teams own a 42-30 record entering the final stanza of the season. The Thunder have lost four straight heading into tonight’s home game and they are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Raptors have already clinched a playoff berth with their 51-21 record, but they are two games away from the top spot, currently owned by the Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors enter tonight’s game on a two-game winning streak and a record of 6-4 in their last 10 games.
They last played just days ago as the Raptors took a 123-114 overtime win on March 20 in Toronto. Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, who should be getting some major Most Improved Player consideration, led Toronto with 33 points and 13 rebounds. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 42 points in the losing effort.
Time: 7:30pm ET
Arena: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Channel: NBA TV
Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup
The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t have to look too far back to see where they have had problems lately, as they are just coming off a loss against these same Raptors on Wednesday night. The Raptors nearly gave the game to the Thunder, blowing a 19-point lead, but the Thunder could not get anything going in overtime, scoring just four points and the Raptors scored 13 to take the game.
“We were playing from behind too much,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I mentioned about the adversity and the challenges. This is a really, really good team, and you just can’t really have lapses for a quarter or coming out of the locker room because you end up having to play from behind.”
The Thunder relied on Russell Westbrook, almost too heavily, to try to get a win at home against the Raptors. He finished with 42 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. Paul George added 19 points, but the rest of the starting lineup managed just a combined 21 points. Jerami Grant did corral 14 rebounds in addition to his nine points, but the Thunder will need more from Steven Adams and Terrance Ferguson if they want to avoid sliding down the Western Conference standings.
Toronto Raptors Preview Starting Lineup
For the Toronto Raptors, things are a bit more simple. They have to sustain leads and finish off strong so as not to allow teams back in with an opportunity to steal games. Those types of slip-ups come back to haunt teams, but the Raptors were able to turn it up on defense and make the baskets they needed in overtime on Wednesday night.
“You’ve got to finish regardless of the circumstances or whatever is going on,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “You just have got to keep playing. A lot of times when you blow a big lead and go to OT that momentum has already gone to the team that got it to OT and you go flat. We didn’t. We came out and really played, especially on the defensive end and that’s a really good sign.”
The Raptors were led by Siakam’s 33 point, 13 rebounds effort, but every member of Toronto’s starting group reach the double-digit mark. Fred VanVleet, playing for an injured Kyle Lowry, had 23 points, Kawhi Leonard added 22 points and 10 rebounds and Danny Green added 17 points and six assists.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors Betting Odds
The Toronto Raptors are 2.5-point favorites to win tonight’s game at home. They have a 29-7 record at Scotiabank Arena and are 42-14 as the favorite. The Thunder are 19-17 on the road and 9-8 as the underdog.
The over/under is 226 points and the Raptors are -140 on the moneyline.
Bet on Matchup
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