Raptors Report! Five Can't-Miss Home Games for 2018
Toronto's Top-Five Remaining Home Games in 2018
December has been smooth sailing for Toronto but part of this is due to the level of competition. The Raptors only faced one team with a winning record. Come the New Year, the Raptors will have to elevate their play as they face the who's who of the NBA.
Here's a quick look at their most intriguing home games.
Cleveland Cavaliers (Jan 11; 8:00 PM ET)
The Raptors lost both home games versus Cleveland last season but won both two seasons ago. The Cavs have been on a roll and have been just as hot as Toronto in December. LeBron James is having his best season with averages of 28.1 points, 9.1 assists, 8.1 rebounds on 56.5 per cent shooting with a PER of 30.6.
Golden State Warriors (Jan 13; 7:30 PM ET)
Toronto gets the defending NBA champions immediately after Cleveland in what should be their most challenging two-game stretch. The Warriors recently reclaimed the NBA's best record at 27-7. Dub Nation leads the NBA in defensive rating (100.8), net rating (+11.4), and true shooting percentage (60.5 per cent).
Minnesota Timberwolves (Jan 30; 7:30 PM ET)
Hometown hero Andrew Wiggins returns for the Wolves' only game in Toronto. Wiggins has been struggling this season with averages of 17.5 points and 4 rebounds on just 42.8 per cent from the field. The Wolves are fourth in the West with a 21-13 record and are on track to make the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons.
Milwaukee Bucks (Feb 23; 7:30 PM ET)
This is the Raptors' final game against their playoff rivals from last year. This could have playoff implications. Milwaukee is 17-15 and holding on to a bottom-two seed in the East but that could quickly change with a strong run in 2018. Giannis Antetokounmpo is second in the NBA in scoring at 29.5 points per game.
Houston Rockets (Mar 9; 7:30 PM ET)
The Raptors had their best win of the season against the second-placed Houston Rockets in Houston. James Harden is again playing like an MVP leading the NBA in scoring average (32.4), usage percentage (36), and three-pointers made (4.25) while also ranking second in assists (9.2).
Latest Raptors News
The good news is the Raptors were the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The bad news is, it lasted less than 24 hours as they saw their six-game winning streak snapped by the Dallas Mavericks.
Toronto came into Big D as six-point favourites but was clearly feeling the Christmas hangover. The team shot 33.7 per cent collectively with DeMar DeRozan only scoring eight points with three field goals made in 16 attempts. It was one of Toronto's worst shooting performances.
Looking ahead, the Raptors should forget about this and get back on the driver's seat. December has been Toronto's best month of the season:
- 7-5: Toronto's against the spread (ATS) record in December, all as favourites; they covered the spread five straight times before losing to Dallas on Tuesday
- 83.3%: the Raptors' winning percentage (10-2) for December, second-best in the league behind only the Golden State Warriors (91.7%, 11-1)
- 99.6: Toronto's defensive rating in December, tied for best with the Golden State Warriors
- 6/6: the over/under for Toronto's games this month; the under has hit in four of Toronto's last six contests
Toronto is Solid Underdog Bet to Win Division
Thanks to December, the Raptors' odds have dropped to +225 to win the Atlantic Division. Now holding a slight lead over the Boston Celtics, the Raptors appear deadlocked with their division rivals.
Their January schedule gets a lot tougher while the Celtics face weaker teams so expect the Raptors' odds to go back up. The Raptors remain a distant third in winning the Eastern Conference at +800. Both the public and pundits believe Cleveland and Boston are significantly better teams come playoffs. As for the NBA Championship, Toronto remains in seventh at +2500.
When Are The Raptors Playing?
The Raptors face the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight at 8:00 PM ET in the Chesaspeake Energy Arena. Toronto is coming off a road loss against Dallas while the Thunder have been on a roll and are 8-2 in their last ten games with a 4-1 home record.
Toronto is a slight +3.5 underdog and are 4-3 ATS on the road and 4-1 ATS at Oklahoma City. Both teams are at full strength and meet for the first of two meetings this season. Russell Westbrook is averaging 23.9 points, 9.9 assists (league-leader), and 9.4 rebounds for the Thunder. DeRozan is averaging 24.3 points per game for Toronto while Kyle Lowry adds 16.2 points and a team-leading 7.0 assists.
Category : NBAMore articles...