Toronto Raptors vs Phoenix Suns 3/11/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Toronto Raptors vs Phoenix Suns Matchup Preview (3/11/22)

The Toronto Raptors (35-30) travel to face the 1st seed Phoenix Suns (53-13) Friday night. The Raptors have gotten out to a slow start from the All-Star break, going 3-5. Their defense (9th Defensive Rating) has kept them afloat during that span, but the offense (26th Offensive Rating) needs a serious spark. The Raptors are coming off a 119-104 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Fred VanVleet returned from a 5-game absence and scored 26 points on 46.6 FG%. Pascal Siakam and rookie Scottie Barnes both scored 20 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. The Spurs saw Dejounte Murray nearly hit a triple-double again. He produced 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 12 assists on 52.9 FG%. Keldon Johnson paced the Spurs in scoring with 27 points on 52.6 FG%. The Raptors will once again be without OG Anunoby and Malachi Flynn. Anunoby hasn’t played since February 16th, and his two-way play has been sorely missed. Khem Birch will get the start again in place of the injured Anunoby. 

The Suns are 5-3 since the All-Star break with the 16th Offensive Rating and 3rd Defensive Rating. They enter this contest on a high note after beating the Miami Heat 111-90. The Suns were only up two points at halftime, but they limited the Heat to a mere 35 points in the second half. Devin Booker returned from a 5-game absence due to COVID protocols. He scored 23 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and facilitated 9 assists. Deandre Ayton got the best of Bam Adebayo; he produced 19 points and 10 rebounds on 90 FG%. Cameron Payne had a double-double (11 points, 10 assists), and Mikal Bridges scored 21 points on 69.2 FG%. The Heat looked lost without Jimmy Butler on the court. His elite two-way play (21.4 PPG, 1.8 SPG) sets the tone on both ends of the court. Duncan Robinson poured in 22 points on 6/11 from three. Bam Adebayo managed 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. The Suns are still without Chris Paul and Cameron Johnson for this game. 

Toronto Raptors vs Phoenix Suns Betting Odds

The Suns defeated the Raptors 99-95 on January 11th in their only previous matchup. Jae Crowder led the Suns in scoring with 19 points on 5/11 from three. Ayton chipped in 16 points and 9 rebounds. Fred VanVleet scored 21 points, while Pascal Siakam produced 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. For Friday’s game, I like the Suns to defeat the Raptors in a relatively close game. They are playing better than the Raptors currently and have the talent advantage. The bench advantage is neutralized with Paul and Johnson out, but the Raptors starting lineup will have a hard time hanging with the Suns. Both teams are playing tough defense at the moment, so the game won’t be an offensive explosion. However, the Suns and Raptors have multiple offensive weapons. I like the game to finish between 224-229 total points. 

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TV Schedule

Date: 3/11/22
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: Footprint Center – Phoenix, AZ
Channel: NBA League Pass

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Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup

PG: Fred VanVleet
SG: Gary Trent Jr
SF: Scottie Barnes
PF: Pascal Siakam
C: Khem Birch

Toronto Raptors Analysis

The Raptors have two main hubs of offense: Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam. VanVleet, an All-Star this year, is a crafty ball handler who excels in the pick and roll. For the season, he is averaging 21.5 PPG and 6.8 APG on a 41/39/87 shooting split. VanVleet can take defenders off the dribble and create his own shot. The Raptors have the option of deploying him off-ball also as he is a lethal catch and shoot threat. However, a deficit in his game revolves around interior scoring. VanVleet is struggling to finish around the rim, partly because of his size (6’1”, 194 lbs). When he comes off the pick, the Suns can anticipate him pulling up for a mid range jump shot. The problem for them is that Cameron Payne recovers well when beat or picked. His 6’7” wingspan allows him to contest shots someone his size (6’1”) usually wouldn’t. Khem Birch will need to set solid screens to hinder Payne for a few more milliseconds and allow VanVleet to get the jump shot off. 

Siakam is averaging 21.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 5.0 APG on a 48/34/74 shooting split. He loves to isolate on offense and either score or find the open man. VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr force defenders to stay on the three point line, which leaves Siakam more space to operate. When isolating, Siakam thrives driving to the hoop. If he settles for a jump shot, the defense can consider it a solid outcome. Khem Birch cannot space the floor in the slightest, which means Deandre Ayton will stay anchored in the paint. He’s come a long way defensively and protects the rim for the Suns. Siakam will have a tough time getting around Ayton, so he may settle for more jumpers on the elbow than desired.

Toronto Raptors Team Pages

Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup

PG: Cameron Payne
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Deandre Ayton

Phoenix Suns Analysis

With Booker back, the Suns offense is far more potent. At 25.6 PPG and 4.7 APG, he is able to orchestrate the offense while getting his own shot. Khem Birch has been horrible defending the pick and roll, so the Suns can exploit this. When his teammate gets picked, Birch steps up slightly; however, he is uncomfortable doing this and immediately backpedals back towards the paint on flat feet. He cannot move laterally and gives up the midrange shot because of this. The ball handler just needs to use the pick, drive a few steps, and pull up for a jump shot. The shot will be open because Birch already started moving back towards the paint. This tendency means the Suns should run the pick and roll more often with Devin Booker instead of Cameron Payne. Booker is one of the best midrange shooters in the game, and that shot will be wide open all night. 

Even if Birch could adjust and become more assertive stepping up to meet the ball handler, the Suns would counter this by using Ayton. This season, Ayton has been one of the best in the NBA at rolling to the basket. The Suns are 1st in pick and roll roll man offense (1.29 Points Per Possession) for a reason. The Raptors could adjust by giving more minutes to backup big man Chris Boucher. Ayton would still bully Boucher in the paint though and tear apart the Raptors. The one weakness in the Raptors starting lineup is their hole at center. The Suns need to take advantage of this and put pressure there. 

Toronto Raptors vs Phoenix Suns Daily Fantasy Picks

I like Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Fred VanVleet in this matchup. Booker is going to hit 25+ points and 7+ assists here. No matter what defense he is playing, Booker can get his shot off. His volume has only gone up since Chris Paul went down, and I expect him to control the ball for the Suns. Ayton has been phenomenal recently, going for 23.3 PPG and 12.3 RPG in his last three games. His efficiency means Ayton makes the most of his opportunities. Khem Birch is outmatched here, so look for Ayton to clear 20 points and 10 rebounds. For the Raptors, I like VanVleet because of his volume and efficiency. As the main ball handler, VanVleet is the engine of the offense. Cameron Payne is not an elite defender, so VanVleet won’t be shut down. A line around 25 points and 8 assists is feasible for him here. 

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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