It’s a matchup of Atlantic Division opponents in the Big Apple for a matinee tilt. The Eastern Conference leading Toronto Raptors look to stay hot as they visit the struggling New York Knicks Sunday afternoon. Toronto won its eighth straight by whipping the Knicks 132-106 on the road Sunday afternoon. Brooklyn is coming off a 120-97 home loss to the 76ers Sunday night in their latest contest. The Raptors hold a 48-39 lead in the all-time regular season series: they’ve won 10 straight, including both this season. In the last meeting, Toronto prevailed 114-113 in overtime here on January 8.
Toronto Raptors Seek 50th Win of Season
Toronto won for the eighth straight game and their 15th win in the last 16 contests as they trounced the Knicks. The Raptors can earn their 50th win here: if they go at least .500 in their final 16 games, they’ll break the franchise record of 56 victories. Toronto led by five after one quarter and by eight at the half before piling it on in the second half to win going away. The Raptors shot 50.5 percent from the field, including 16 of 35 three point attempts, and won the rebounding battle 52-37. In addition, Toronto had a 69-29 bulge in bench points: Jonas Valanciunas led seven Raptors in double figures with 17 points and nine boards.
The Raptors currently are 3rd in the league by averaging 112.2 points per game. Toronto stands in the middle of the pack in the league on the glass, ranking 16th with 43.7 boards per game. The Raptors are 7th in the league in assists with 23.9 dimes a night. Toronto is 6th in scoring defense as they give up 103.4 points per game. DeMar DeRozan leads Toronto with 23.7 points plus 5.2 assists per contest. Jonas Valanciunas averages 12.1 points plus 8.4 boards per contest. Kyle Lowry is the floor general for the Raptors and he contributes with 16.5 points plus 5.7 boards and 6.6 assists per game. Toronto receives solid production from guys like Serge Ibaka (12.8 points, 6.1 rebounds) and Norman Powell: CJ Miles (10.3 points), Fred Van Vleet, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Delon Wright are being looked at to contribute for coach Dwane Casey’s group. The Raptors are tied for 7th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 47.1 percent from the field. Toronto is tied for 5th in the league by sinking 11.7 three pointers per game. The Raptors are tied for 21st in the league in three point shooting as they hit 35.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Brooklyn Nets Try to Pick Up Home Division Win
Brooklyn’s struggles continued as they were pasted by the 76ers for their fifth loss in six games. The Nets dropped to just 1-10 in Atlantic Division action this season with the loss and they have to face the Eastern Conference leaders in this one. Brooklyn was out of this one early: they trailed by 12 after the opening quarter and never drew closer than six the rest of the way as Philadelphia’s shooting proved to be too much. The Nets shot 38.8 percent from the floor and hit 10 of 28 three point attempts while committing 18 turnovers. D’Angelo Russell had 26 points to lead Brooklyn in a losing effort.
The Nets are 15th in the league in scoring offense with 105.9 points per game. Brooklyn is 5th in the league on the glass by collecting 44.9 rebounds per game. The Nets are 12th in the league in assists with 23.1 dimes per contest. Brooklyn is 27th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 110.1 points a game. D’Angelo Russell is the team’s leading scorer with 15.7 points plus 4.9 assists per contest: he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery November 11 and missed 33 games before returning against Miami January 19. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson adds 14 points a night while DeMarre Carroll chips in 13.5 points and 6.6 rebounds a contest. Allen Crabbe (12.7 points) and Caris LeVert (11.9 points) are perimeter oriented options on the offensive end. Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie (13 points, 6.9 assists), Nik Stauskas, Dante Cunningham, Jahlil Okafor and Timofey Mozgov are key pieces in Kenny Atkinson’s rotation. The Nets are 30th in the league by shooting 43.7 percent from the floor. Brooklyn is 2nd in the league by sinking 12.2 triples per contest. The Nets are tied for 27th in the league in three point shooting as they shoot 34.8 percent from long range.
- Raptors are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
- Raptors are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game
- Raptors are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games
- Nets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games
This one screams mismatch on paper. The Raptors are ridiculously deep and they are sizzling right now with 15 wins in 16 games, including snapping Houston’s 17 game win streak Friday. Toronto owns a 3.5 game lead in the race for the Eastern Conference top spot while the Nets are merely playing out the string on another lost season. The fact that Cleveland owns their first round pick merely makes the fact that they’ve struggled that much worse. Brooklyn will scrap and battle but Toronto’s talent is too much to overcome: look for the Raptors to make it nine straight with a win here.