What is happening out west? Is the Eastern Conference finally catching up? The Toronto Raptors were listed as 8-point favorites at the sportsbook Bovada in Oakland.
It seemed like too much, we thought the Warriors should be two or three-point favorites. Turns out, the Raptors absolutely crushed. I guess that’s what happens when Curry goes three of twelve and Thompson seven for seventeen.
Can the Raps wrap up there West Coast stint with a win in Portland before heading over to Denver?
Toronto Raptors vs. Portland Trail Blazers
The Raps get a night off before heading up to the Moda Center on Friday to face the Rip City ‘Zers. Portland started out the season strong, but have since fallen back into the crowd of the talented Western Conference.
The Blazers are typically known as a tough team to play when they are at home. And they have had an elite defense, especially while playing at the Moda Center. But things have slid for them recently. Their total defense has dropped to 109 points per game. They are still respectable at home, only allowing 106 per game, which is good for the top ten home Ds (No. 9).
This game could come down to the wire as Portland scores an average of 114.86 points per game while playing on N. Center Street and the Raps score 114.4 per game while road-trippin’.
Toronto also has the third-best road defense in the league, allowing home teams to score just 104.7 points per game. So when it is all said and done, the Raptors have a 1.16 average point differential advantage against the Blazers in this away/home situation.
Normally I would still lean the Blazers for the Friday showdown, but the Raps dismantled the Clippers and the Warriors both without the help of Kahwi Leonard. The victory in Golden State was the first time that Toronto has won at the Oracle Arena since 2004. Kahwi is still questionable for Friday and the Raps could use his defense against a fantastic home-scoring team like Portland. However, it is almost better to let him sit and rest up fully. The Raptors are gelling right now and it could be a mistake to mess with the dynamic.
Look for a close game in Rip City.
Indiana Pacers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The Brooklyn Nets got the better of the 76ers on Wednesday night. Jimmy Butler has brought a lot to this Philly squad and his presence was definitely missed against the Nets and he’s listed as questionable for Friday evening against the Pacers.
Indiana is on a roll. They have won five straight and even covered the point spreads in four of those wins. But this is a great bounce-back spot for Philly. They have a day to think about how they lost to the Nets and they definitely want to even the score a bit against the Pacers. Indiana has won seven out of the last ten in the series between these two teams as well as two out of the last three. The Sixers got a 100 to 94 victory as away underdogs against Pacers on November 7th, but you can bet that they still feel that they have some catching up to do with regards to their head-to-head record against their rival over in the Central Division.
Right now the Pacers are playing slightly better on offense on the road than they are at home. But they are significantly worse on defense. The Pacers are the No. 1 D in the league right now, allowing 101.3 points per game. However, on the road, they slip to No. 4 letting just a smidge under 105 points per game fall through the net.
The 76ers are prolific, to say the least when it comes to scoring at home. They are dropping 117 a game on visitors while allowing 108, out-scoring opponents by an average of nine points per game.
If Butler comes back, we should look for the Sixers to win handily. If not, they are still likely to bounce back for a win, albeit, in a much closer game.