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Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors Game Preview and Prediction

The inter-conference foes will meet at the Scotiabank Arena on Friday when the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Toronto Raptors, looking to get the sixth consecutive victory and fifth straight on the road, while the hosts are hoping to secure the ninth win in ten games after the latest blowout victory over the conference rivals Boston Celtics. Toronto has been a better rival when it comes to the recent H2H duels as they beat Portland in three of the last five encounters but the Blazers recorded a 128-122 win in the opening clash of this season series, so the Raptors will be looking to get revenge in this one. NBA: Friday, March 1, 2019, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, 8:00 PM ET

 

Portland Trail Blazers edged the Celtics on the road

Portland is currently on an extended road trip in the East and they won all four games so far, including the most recent one over the Boston Celtics. The Trail Blazers now improved to the 38-23 record and are in the 4th position in the Western Conference with five wins behind the conference leaders Golden State Warriors and four wins behind their Northwest Division rivals Denver Nuggets. Portland is looking confident at the moment and the playoffs are on a horizon for them as they have seven wins more than the Sacramento Kings who are in the 9th place. Still, it will be interesting to see whether the Blazers will end the regular season in top four in the West and get the home-court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers in a 97-92 win over the Celtics with 33 points (13-28 FG, 3-10 3PT), seven rebounds, team-high four assists, and a couple of steals; Maurice Harkless posted a double-double of 17 points and game-high ten boards, along with game-high three thefts, JusufNurkic added 16 points, six rebounds, and a pair of blocks, while C.J. McCollum ended the clash with 14 points and five boards. Portland displayed excellent defensive performance in the opening 24 minutes and although the offense didn’t play the best basketball, the Blazers managed to get separation in the third quarter and scored 31 points, allowing 22 in return. The visitors were bad from downtown, shooting only 18.2 percent (6-33) but luckily for them, Boston was even worse and had miserable 17.9 percent from beyond the arc (5-28). The Celtics committed 16 turnovers in opposite to Portland’s 11, which also affected the outcome.

https://twitter.com/trailblazers/status/1101006585323810816

Enes Kanter is dealing with immigration issues, which means he’ll miss this game prior to re-joining the team in Charlotte on Sunday. Evan Turner (knee) has been ruled out for Friday’s game in Toronto.

The Blazers have the top 10 offense in the NBA that averages 113.5 points per contest (10th), while their defense is 12th in the league as it allows 109.9 points per game. Portland’s rebounding is in top 5 as they are recording 47.8 boards per game (3rd), while they are worse when it comes to assists per contest with 22.8 dishes a night (24th). Portland is 12th in field goal percentage as they have 46.5 percent from the floor and 7th from downtown with 36.0 percentage, while they are 19th in the NBA with 11.0 three-pointers made per game.

Toronto Raptors dominated in a blowout win over Boston

Toronto was in an excellent run of seven consecutive wins before the Orlando Magic upset them but the Raptors responded with a massive victory over the Boston Celtics. The Raptors improved to the 45-17 record and are currently in the 2nd place the Eastern Conference with a couple of wins behind the conference leaders Milwaukee Bucks and six wins ahead of the Atlantic Division rivals Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto will undoubtedly reach the playoffs and although they are aiming the top spot in the East, Milwaukee looks quite serious at the moment and perhaps the No. 2 seed is a realistic goal for the Raptors right now. However, there’s plenty of basketball to be played and anything could happen in the next 20 games.

Pascal Siakam led the Raptors in a 118-95 win over the Celtics with 25 points, game-high eight rebounds, and a couple of steals; Kawhi Leonard followed him with 21 points, six boards, and four assists, Serge Ibaka scored 14, Norman Powell chipped in with 11 points off the bench, while Kyle Lowry contributed with seven points, game-high 11 dimes, and six rebounds. Toronto dismantled the Celtics in the second quarter, scoring even 36 points and allowing just 13 in return, and Boston couldn’t recover from that shock, at least not in time to avoid a massive defeat. The visitors did hit 23 free throws in opposite to the Raptors’ nine but the hosts made 11 triples more than Boston (17-6), while Toronto was more careful with the possession, committing eight turnovers against the Celtics’ 14.

The Raptors have the top 10 offense in the NBA that averages 114.2 points per contest (6th), while their defense is the 10th as it allows 108.7 points per game. Toronto’s rebounding is average as they are recording 45.2 boards per game (16th), while they are not much better when it comes to assists per contest with 24.9 dishes a night (14th). Toronto is 10th in field goal percentage as they have 46.9 percent from the floor and 16th from downtown with 35.1 percentage, while they are 11th in the NBA with 11.7 three-pointers made per game.

Trends:

Portland:

  • 12-14 ATS in the last 26 games as an underdog
  • 8-12 ATS in the last 20 games as an away underdog
  • 14-15 in the last 29 games played on the road

Toronto:

  • 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight up win of more than ten points
  • 4-1 ATS in their last five games vs. an opponent with a winning percentage above .600

The Winner Prediction

Toronto won seven out of the previous ten H2H encounters including three out of the last four, while the Raptors were victorious in the past four meetings at the Scotiabank Arena. Portland did beat the Raptors in the opening game of this season series and Toronto will be motivated to set the record straight with a win here, and I am backing them to do it. The Blazers are without Kanter and I expect Toronto to dominate in the paint as Siakam, Ibaka, and Gasol will surely find the way to outplay the likes of Nurkic, Jake Layman, and Zach Collins. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings and I am going with the Raptors to cover the

The Pick: Toronto Raptors -5 (-110)

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