| Sat 21/10/2017 - 14:05 EDT

Raptors In For A Potential Shootout Against Sixers

Raptors In For A Potential Shootout Against Sixers

Colour us surprised. Heading into Thursday's home opener against the Bulls, everyone expected the Raptors to win comfortably but not through their second unit.

The Raptors led the Bulls early but it was when backups C.J. Miles, Delon Wright, and rookie OG Anunoby when they pulled away and covered the 12.0 spread. The trio combined for 45 points on 58.3 per cent shooting with Miles dropping six treys. They'll need him to continue his hot shooting from deep against the significantly better Sixers.  

The Sixers may be worth a look as +8.0 underdogs. Their roster has gaping holes with their forward rotation with a logjam at power forward but barely anyone at small forward but they shoot the lights out. The Raptors will need to own the perimeter and hit their threes. Sixers franchise big man Joel Embiid suggested he's ready to play back-to-back games but he will not be suiting up tonight.

My Team's Next MatchToronto Raptors

The Sixers are young and talented and could be one of the league's top three-point shooting teams. But they lack the grit and experience of the Raptors. Toronto should establish themselves in the perimeter while the likes of Demar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka need to play better. -8.0 is a tough bet with or without Embiid. But the Raptors should roll.

Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors Preview

Despite not making any significant roster moves, Raptors President Masai Ujiri promised a "culture reset". The evidence? The Raptors were the only team outside the Houston Rockets to attempt over 50 per cent of their offense from beyond the arc.

This is surprising for a team that ranked 22nd in the league in three-point attempts last season but the Raptors are finally growing with the rest of the NBA.

This is great timing because the Raptors are facing the team of tomorrow: the 76ers. Except for Ben Simmons, every player in Philadelphia's starting lineup likes to hit the three-ball. 

Swingmen Robert Covington and new acquisition JJ Reddick combined to hit 11 treys in their loss against the Wizards. They attempted 35 three-pointers, good for fourth-most at the time. Simmons instead played the role of facilitator and led the team in assists.

The Raptors' biggest three-point threats are Norman Powell and C.J. Miles. The pair hit a combined nine of the team's total 13 three-pointers made accounting for 69 per cent of the long-distance scoring. Star point guard Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and OG Anunoby also contributed. The outlier is DeMar DeRozan whose perfected mid-range game is uncanny in this age.

DeRozan is still primarily a scorer and has playmaking and defense that leaves a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, his strength lies in his ability to draw fouls and get to the rim. Despite his incredible blocking ability, Embiid can be exploited in the middle as Wizards' guard John Wall showed. DeRozan and starting Center Jonas Valanciunas give the Raptors' lineup that inside game that should help their perimeter scoring.

The Raptors' big man core will be tested against the fleet-footed 76ers "big men" and if they roll out a lineup of Dario Saric, Simmons, and Covington at frontcourt, the Raptors will have to go small with Ibaka in the middle although he excels as a power forward. Valanciunas needs to produce like he did against the Bulls when he posted 23 points and 15 rebounds and without a true Center for Philly, he should. 

Playing this 76ers team is a test to see how effective the Raptors' new adjustments are against a team that was born in this pace and space era. The point spread is iffy but the totals at 215.5 (-108) may be worth a look. If the teams get embroiled in a three-point shootout, they'll beat the score effectively.

Canadians can head to online sportsbooks, which provide extensive NBA bets from the point spread to the money line to the team totals and even prop bets, where point spreads can be adjusted to suit your betting style and confidence. A signup bonus is available for new players making it easier to give it a test run much like the Raptors are in incorporating new tricks to their offense.

Category : NBA

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