Red-Hot Raptors: Why They're Winning Big
Few Eastern Conference teams are hotter than the Raptors right now. After a tough six-game Western road trip that saw them go 3-3, the Raptors went 2-2 back on the East coast including two tough losses against key conference rivals in the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics.
But the Raptors have emphatically risen from mediocrity avenging the Wizards' loss and are riding a four-game winning streak. The Raptors' vaunted "culture change" is finally shaping up and the two biggest contributors to the Raptors' success have been:
- Their youth movement
- Their improvement on offense
Rookie OG Anunoby, Jakob Poeltl, and Pascal Siakam have become not just key contributors but catalysts off the bench or as starters. The Raptors are overcoming their shooting woes particularly from deep. Here are four key stats that best summarize the Raptors' recent resurgence...
50.74% - Field Goal Percentage
The Raptors' field goal percentage during the four-game winning streak, the best in the NBA during that span. The Raptors are ranked second overall in field goal efficiency at 48.4 per cent behind only the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
35.24% - Three-point-field Goal Accuracy
The three-point field goal accuracy for the Raptors during the last four games. Taking out the Wizards game, it bumps to 39.75 per cent. The Raptors improved their overall three-point field goal percentage to 31.4 per cent, good for 24th in the league. They used to sit in the bottom two before their recent three-point outburst.
+30.5 - Average Plus/Minus
The average plus/minus between Anunoby, Poeltl, Siakam, and Delon Wright in those four games. Wright missed the last two due to injury but Anunoby (+31) led the team in +/- in two of his four starts while Poeltel (+31) never had a minus, and Siakam (+34) has been a +9 or better in three of his last four games. Wright (+26) was a +18 and +8 in his two games before his injury.
18.2 - Kyle Lowry's Scoring Average
Kyle Lowry's scoring average in his last four games. The Raptors' three-time All-Star was only averaging 13.5 points with no 20-point games but scored back-to-back 22-point games in the four-game stretch. Lowry also shot 40 per cent from downtown, a big boost from his 35 per cent in 12 games prior.
Toronto's Next Games
At New York (11/22): the Raptors rematch the Knicks in New York. The Knicks have lost eight straight to Toronto though eight of their nine wins came from the Garden. Expect a closer game than last week with the Raptors getting the edge.
At Indiana (11/24): the first of the Raptors' meeting with the Pacers in a seven-game stretch; Toronto is 7-2 straight-up (SU) against Indiana in their last nine games and 3-2 against them in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
At Atlanta (11/25): the Raptors are 3-2 against the Hawks in Atlanta in their last five games; the Hawks are an Eastern Conference-worst 3-14 and are second-worst in the league next to the Dallas Mavericks.
Vs Charlotte (11/29): Toronto is 4-2 hosting Charlotte at the ACC since they regained their Hornets moniker back. Charlotte won their last meeting in Toronto but are struggling overall with a 6-10 record this year.
Vs Indiana (12/01): the Raptors haven't lost a home game to Indiana since the 2012-13 season and are 7-0 against them since. The Pacers are 10-8 this season despite losing star player Paul George.
Vs Phoenix (12/05): the NBA's second-worst defensive team are 3-2 against the Raptors in Toronto and swept the season series last year. Toronto will be big favourites against this draft lottery team but shouldn't sleep on them.
Toronto Raptors 2017-18 Season Progress
Now's the most opportune time to bet on the Raptors in these online sportsbooks. Careful research goes a long way in analyzing if the oddsmakers are either underestimating or overestimating what Toronto can do. A signup bonus is available for most of these books making it easy for casual players to get involved.
Category : NBA News
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