Monday night features a matchup of East versus West as the Toronto Raptors (2-7) take on the Portland Trail Blazers (5-4). Portland will host this one from the Moda Center, with tipoff scheduled for 10 pm ET.
The Raptors enter Monday’s game on the second half of a back-to-back. In the first game on Sunday, they dropped a heartbreaker to the Golden State Warriors, 106-105.
Trailing by 15 heading into the fourth quarter, the Raptors stormed back to take the lead but weren’t able to hold it. In the loss, Pascal Siakam led the way with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
The Trail Blazers come into this one on a two-game winning streak. In their last game, they beat the Sacramento Kings handily on the road, 125-99. In the win, CJ McCollum was fantastic, going for 37 points, as Portland had six players score in double-digits.
Portland is the favorite playing at home. They are -172 to win while the Raptors’ moneyline sits at +144. The spread features Portland favored by four points, while the over/under for total points is 233.
By The Numbers
Offensively, Portland has been one of the best teams in the league, ranking fourth in scoring, averaging 117.9 points per game. The Raptors rank 16th, averaging 111.9 per game.
Defensively, neither of these two have been especially good. Toronto ranks 21st in scoring defense, allowing 113.4 points per game. The Trail Blazers rank 24th, allowing an average of 115.9 per game.
Toronto Looking To Turn Season Around
For a team that is only a couple of seasons removed from an NBA championship, this start seems unfathomable for the Raptors. Consistency has been a big issue for the Raptors, and they will look to turn their season around at Portland on Monday.
The best players for the Raptors this season have been Fred VanVleet, Siakam and Kyle Lowry. VanVleet leads the way, averaging 22.3 points per game. He is also chipping in five rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Both Siakam (19.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.7 steals) and Lowry (19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists) have also been solid. Other contributors for Toronto include Norman Powell (10.8 points), Chris Boucher (13.5 points, six rebounds) and OG Anunoby (12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.9 steals).
Portland Hopes To Keep Rolling
It was a bit of a rough start to the season for the Trail Blazers, but they also had a brutal start to their schedule, with games against the Lakers, Clippers and Jazz in three of their first four. Now that they have settled in a bit, we are starting to see how good this team can be.
Of course, the team is led by one of the best backcourts in the league in Damian Lillard and McCollum. Through nine games, Lillard is averaging 26.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists, while McCollum is averaging 27.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, five assists and 1.7 steals.
Other notable contributors for the Trail Blazers include Carmelo Anthony (12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds), Gary Trent Jr. (11.1 points), Enes Kanter (10.9 points, 9.7 rebounds) and Jusuf Nurkic (10.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists).
Portland Wins And Covers
I already liked Portland to win this one, but the fact that the Raptors are on the back end of a back-to-back just cements it for me. There has been no doubt that Toronto has disappointed this season, and facing a dynamic offense led by Lillard and McCollum won’t help.
For my money, I am taking the Portland Trail Blazers to both win and cover the four-point spread.