Portland Trailblazers at Toronto Raptors Video and Betting Preview: Portland will be in Tampa Bay to face the Raptors, the two teams just completing a trade the other day. And now, just three days later, the head-to-head begins. There was an exchanging of talented guards, perhaps each guy better fitting the timeline in their new home better than that of their old.
Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood now find themselves in Portland, while Norman Powell is a Raptor. It helped that Portland was down a starter on Friday, allowing Powell to step right into the starting lineup, a place he could find himself on the regular. Trent started at small forward for the Raptors in their Friday contest against the Suns, struggling to come up with a significant impact.
At the end of the day, the Blazers should find themselves in the thick of the playoff conversations. Now that Jusuf Nurkic is back, they have a two-headed center with him and Enes Kanter. They’ve got two seven terrific players now that Powell is here and has joined Melo. They could use a little depth at the end of the bench, but the core is looking nice.
And at 18-27, the Raptors have a lot of work to do this year. But it is clear that the season is not over until it’s over. With Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, anything is possible. Just don’t let Pascal Siakam have the last shot.
Betting Odds & Lines
- Spread: Portland is favored in a game expected to be close. POR -1
- Over/Under: The spread is set at 228.5 points.
- Moneyline: The moneyline for Portland is -102, while it’s -114 for Toronto.
Blazers Seek Win No. 28
It has been a very good season for the TrailBlazers. At 27-18, they have overcome a number of key injuries to stay in the thick of the playoff race in the West. CJ McCollum missed over two months, but Damian Lillard was able to carry them to a number of key wins. Carmelo Anthony has continued to show that he has a lot left in the tank. And Enes Kanter is playing the best basketball of his career.
At the end of the say though, it’s all about Dame. We can talk about the great talent Portland has, or Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. being the only consistent perimeter defenders they have. Lillard being able to get hot at any time, and heating up constantly, is what drives them to wins. With the offense being what it is, he can’t be double-teamed because of all the other guys on the floor around him. You risk too much.
He has continued to be a tremendous leader and earn the respect of those in the media. This season marks the first time that he has gotten any sort of MVP consideration. And it’s great to see for him.
It will be a battle of the short backcourts in this contest, so in order to win, Portland has to do just one thing. They need to have CJ and Dame outplay Kyle and Fred. It’s very possible. They’ve got to lock-in.
Raptors Trying to Find Their Mojo
It’s been a trying year for Nick Nurse and the Raptors. First off, they’ve played all their home games in Tampa Bay, meaning that they haven’t been “home” the entire season. So, they have played 45 road games, some of which may just have to be considered neutral. It’s been tough.
And then, they were without Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby for a long stretch of games, where they went winless. They came out of an early-season hole to get to .500, but when health and safety protocol kicked in, it had everything falling apart. And the team is still picking up the pieces.
Toronto chose to keep Kyle Lowry rather than trade him at the deadline, perhaps allowing for one more playoff run. The odds of his return next year seem to be relatively slim, so the only way to know what truly happens is to play the waiting game.
If they want to get the win in this one, they’ll need Lowry and VanVleet to outplay the dynamic backcourt of McCollum and Lillard. Look for Lowry to be in facilitator mode early and attack mode in the late stages.
- SPREAD: Raptors +1, folks. They’re getting the W for Gary Trent Jr. He’ll go off against his former team.
- OVER/UNDER: When in doubt, bet the over. Over 228.5 is the bet.
- MONEYLINE: Toronto -114. Boom.
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