Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#575 Oklahoma City Thunder vs.
#576 Toronto Raptors
Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 7:05pm EDT
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s an interconference matchup on the hardwood in the Sunshine State as a pair of teams hope to earn a victory. The Oklahoma City Thunder are on the road as they travel to face the Toronto Raptors Sunday night. Oklahoma City was knocked off 110-104 on the road by Detroit in their previous contest Friday night. Toronto earned a 113-102 win over Orlando at their makeshift home of Tampa Friday night in their latest contest. In the all-time regular-season series, the Thunder owns a 30-18 advantage, including a 113-103 home victory in the first matchup this season on March 31.

Oklahoma City Thunder Hoping to Get Back in Win Column

Oklahoma City suffered their ninth straight loss as they were knocked off by the Pistons on the road Friday night. The Thunder entered Saturday fourth in the Northwest Division, 22 games behind the Jazz for the top spot. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the team is 13th, seven games behind the Spurs for the final play-in spot in the postseason field. Against Detroit, Oklahoma City led by seven after the opening quarter, by as many as 15 in the first half only to find themselves even at intermission. The Thunder trailed by as many as 11 late in the third quarter, clawed back within one with 4:37 to play but gave up a 10-1 run to trail by 10 with 47.6 seconds to play. They wouldn’t get closer than four after that. Oklahoma City shot 40.2% from the field, including seven of 39 from three-point range, and turned the ball over 21 times in the loss. Luguentz Dort led the Thunder with 26 points and six rebounds in the loss.

The Thunder comes into this contest a dismal 28th in the league in scoring offense with 105.3 points per game. Oklahoma City stands 8th in rebounding with 45.3 boards a night while they are 28th in assists by dishing out 22.3 dimes per contest. The Thunder is 23rd in scoring defense as they allow an average of 114.3 points a night. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the team with 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists a night this season. Luguentz Dort puts up 13.6 points a night and Isaiah Roby chips in 8.8 points plus 5.7 boards a contest. Mike Muscala (9.7 points) and Al Horford (14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds) are solid contributors offensively as well. Darius Bazley (12.3 points), Ty Jerome (10 points), Justin Jackson, Svi Mykhailiuk, Moses Brown, Gabriel Deck and Kenrich Williams have to contribute for the team to have success. Oklahoma City is 27th in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.4% from the floor as a team on the year. The Thunder is 17th by knocking down an average of 12.4 three-pointers a night while they are 27th in three-point shooting as they knock down 34.5% of their attempts on the year. Muscala (ankle), Gilgeous-Alexander (foot), Pokusevski (arm) and Deck (not with the team) all missed Friday’s game and have to be monitored here. Horford is going to be inactive the rest of the season as the team gives more time to their young players.

Toronto Raptors Fighting to Climb Into Playoff Picture

Toronto earned their second straight win after losing four of their previous five as they took down the Magic on Friday night. The Raptors are in the basement of the Atlantic Division standings, 16.5 games behind the 76ers for the top spot in the division race. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team stood tied for 10th with the Bulls and Wizards for the final spot in the play-in tournament. Against Orlando Friday, Toronto started sluggishly but rebounded in the second half to earn the victory. The Raptors trailed by eight in the opening quarter, by four at the half and were even midway through the third quarter. Toronto regrouped, reeling off a 15-0 run over a two-and-a-half-minute span to go up 76-61 and didn’t let the Magic closer than 11 after that. The Raptors shot 50% from the floor, including 14 of 35 from three-point range, and controlled the boards by a 42-35 margin. Paul Watson poured in a career-high 30 points to lead Toronto in the victory.

On the season, Toronto stands 18th in scoring offense as they put up an average of 112 points per game this season. The Raptors are 30th in rebounding with 41.5 boards a night while they are 20th by dishing out an average of 24.2 assists a night. Toronto stands 14th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 111.4 points a night. Fred VanVleet is second on the team with 19.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists a night. Pascal Siakam puts up 20.8 points plus 7.2 rebounds per game while Kyle Lowry adds 17.1 points and 7.3 assists per game. OG Anunoby (14.8 points) and Chris Boucher (13.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 blocks) are averaging in double figures. Paul Watson, Yuta Watanabe, Rodney Hood, Gary Trent Jr. (15.5 points) and Aron Baynes are all looked at to help Nick Nurse’s squad. The Raptors are 24th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 45% from the floor as a team. Toronto stands third by knocking down 14.7 three-pointers a night while they are 13th in three-point field goal percentage as they sink 37% of their attempts on the season. Lowry, Anunoby and Siakam all missed Friday’s game for rest purposes while Trent Jr. (ankle) missed his second straight game. Keep an eye on their status to make sure they’ll be in the mix here.

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The Raptors rested three of their key contributors on Friday night but still managed to come up with the win over Orlando. With those guys presumably being back in the mix for this contest, you have to think that Toronto will be in good shape. Oklahoma City has dropped nine straight games and saw a 15-point lead slip away seemingly in the blink of an eye en route to a loss in the Motor City. The Thunder doesn’t strike fear into anyone with their current configuration and things aren’t improving, even with Dort’s return from the concussion protocol. Toronto leans on their veterans to earn a third straight win by prevailing here.

Prediction: Toronto Raptors to cover

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Oklahoma City is 7th in the league in tempo as they average 100.4 possessions per game this year. The Thunder doesn’t do a ton offensively this season despite their tempo this season. Without Horford along with the potential missing of their leading scoring Gilgeous-Alexander, points could be even harder to come by. The Raptors are 13th in the league in tempo with 99.5 possessions a night on the year. Toronto has put back-to-back wins on the books coming into this one and they should have their key components back on the floor in this one. With that said, the Thunder struggles offensively and the totals for the Raptors at home are lower than on the road. This one ends up falling short of the mark.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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