Phoenix Suns (13-29 SU, 21-20-1 ATS, 28-14 O/U) vs. Toronto Raptors (28-15 SU, 26-16-1 ATS, 27-16 O/U)
NBA: Sunday, January 22, 2017, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, 6 pm ET
Line: Toronto -11.5; Over/Under: 221.5
It’s an inter-conference battle between a division leader and a doormat north of the border. The Phoenix Suns close a three game road trip against Eastern Conference foes as they face the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors Sunday evening. Phoenix was in action in the Big Apple Saturday night as they faced the Knicks. Toronto lost its second straight with a 113-78 dismantling by the Hornets on the road Friday night. Phoenix holds a commanding 28-12 edge in the all-time regular season series. The Suns won the first matchup between the teams this season, 99-91, at home on December 29, 2016.
Phoenix Suns Close Road Trip Looking for Win
Phoenix closes a three game road trip here looking to come up with a win. They faced the Knicks Saturday night. The Suns entered Saturday’s game in the basement of the Western Conference, 23.5 games behind the Warriors for the top spot in both of the Western Conference and the Pacific Division. Phoenix’s faint hopes for the playoffs at all have them 4.5 games behind the Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. This season, the Suns have gone 5-17 on the road and recorded an 8-6 mark against the Eastern Conference.
The Suns are 13th in the league in scoring with an average of 105.8 points per game. The Suns are 7th on the glass by collecting 45 boards per game. Phoenix stands last in the league in assists with 18.3 per contest. Phoenix is 29th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 111.8 points a night. Eric Bledsoe is second on the Suns with 20.4 points plus 5.1 rebounds and six assists per contest. TJ Warren is chipping in 14.2 points plus 3.7 boards a night from the small forward spot. Devin Booker puts up a team leading 20.4 points per game while Brandon Knight is contributing 11.9 points and 2.5 dimes per game. Big men Marquese Chriss, Alex Len and Tyson Chandler along with Tyler Ulis and Jared Dudley have to contribute for Phoenix to contend. The Suns are 20th in the league in field goal percentage at 44.7 percent so far. The Suns are 27th in three pointers per game with eight per contest. Phoenix is tied for 24th in three point percentage as they splash only 34.3 percent of their chances from long range.
Toronto Raptors Seek to Bounce Back, Hold on to Atlantic Lead
Toronto was absolutely atrocious as they were thrashed by Charlotte on the road for their second straight defeat. The Raptors hope a return home washes the bad taste out of their mouths. Toronto was within seven at the half but went ice cold after intermission as they were outscored 58-30 to get blown out. The Raptors shot 33.7 percent from the floor and knocked down 7 of 30 three point attempts in the contest. Toronto allowed Charlotte to shoot 50 percent in the game and 12 of 25 from beyond the arc. The Raptors also took a 51-33 beating on the glass. Kyle Lowry had 24 points to lead Toronto in a losing effort.
The Raptors come into this one 3rd in the league by averaging 110.2 points per game. Toronto is having their struggles on the glass, ranking 24th with 42.7 boards per game. The Raptors are 29th in the league in assists with 19 dimes a night. Toronto is 14th in scoring defense as they give up 104.6 points per game. DeMar DeRozan leads Toronto with 28 points plus 5.4 boards per contest. Jonas Valanciunas is averaging 12 points plus 10 boards per contest. Kyle Lowry is the floor general for the Raptors and he contributes with 22.3 points plus seven assists and 1.67 steals per game. Toronto gets solid production from bench guys like Terrence Ross (10.5 points), DeMarre Carroll (9.9 points), Cory Joseph, Patrick Patterson and Norman Powell. The rotation should receive a boost from the return of Jared Sullinger, who made his season debut against the 76ers. The Raptors are 6th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 46.7 percent from the field. Toronto is tied for 13th in the league by sinking 9.3 three pointers per game. The Raptors are 4th in the league in three point shooting as they hit 38.2 percent from beyond the arc.
- Suns are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Suns are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Raptors are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games
- Raptors are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
The Suns have had good success against Toronto in recent years but the fact remains Phoenix is a flawed team. They are overly reliant on quick offense and shooting early in the shot clock. If those shots aren’t going down, the Suns struggle. Toronto is a much better team than we saw on Friday night. The Raptors have good depth and are a very good team at home. DeRozan and Lowry will atone for the team’s performance in Charlotte and deliver an emphatic home victory here.
Pick: Toronto Raptors -11.5
The Suns are one of the most entertaining teams in the league…on the offensive end. Phoenix is a train wreck defensively as we’ve seen on multiple occasions this season. Toronto has to bounce back from an abysmal showing down in Charlotte but they still are in a much better spot as far as the playoffs go compared to Phoenix. Still, with Boston chasing on their heels, the Raptors can ill afford losses like the blowout in Buzz City. Getting Phoenix in the second game of a back to back should help.
The Suns have gone over the total in each of their last five overall and in each of their last five Sunday games. Phoenix has also gone over in four of their last five against the Atlantic Division and in 21 of their last 28 against teams with a winning percentage above .600 on the year. Toronto has gone over in 12 of their last 16 at home and in seven of their last 10 at home against teams with a losing road record. The over is 23-9-1 in Toronto’s last 33 against the Western Conference. In this series, the over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings. Even with Phoenix’s fatigue from playing Saturday night, this one seems destined to go over the total.