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The Play-In Tournament continues on Wednesday evening when the Chicago Bulls face the Toronto Raptors and the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the New Orleans Pelicans!
Alex Caruso remains one of the defensive contributors to watch when the Bulls face the Raptors, especially on the glass. A Defensive Player of the Year candidate, OG Anunoby's three-point range production will be Toronto's focus. Brandon Ingram's recent uptick in rebounding will be a talking point when he leads his Pelicans against the fast-paced Thunder. And Luguentz Dort's current cold streak from the three-point range will significantly influence the Thunder's success.
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Alex Caruso is known as a defensive force for the Chicago Bulls, and his ability to be productive on the glass is a boon for his team's chances. At FanDuel Sportsbook, Caruso is a +102 to clear 2.5 rebounds when he faces the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday evening. In a matchup that will end one team's season, Caruso will be all over the court.
On the season, Caruso is averaging 5.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists on 45.5% from the field and 36.4% from the three-point range. In his final ten games of the season, Caruso posted a modest 5.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 55.3% from the field and 40.9% from three. In three games against the Raptors, Caruso has contributed 4.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 7.3 assists despite shooting 22.2% from the field and 18.2% from three.
Caruso collected three or more rebounds in just three of his last ten games. Out of his 67 regular season appearances, Caruso has cleared 2.5 rebounds 34 times. The Raptors and Bulls play rather traditional lineups, so expect Caruso hit the glass to sway the odds in Chicago's favor.
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Toronto Raptors and league leader in steals OG Anunoby is known for his defensive prowess, but his three-point shooting remains one of the most threatening aspects of his game. At Caesars Sportsbook, Anunoby is a +114 to hit three or more threes when he plays the Chicago Bulls. The Raptors' most efficient three-point shooter, Anunoby's range, is a defining factor in the Raptors' chances at victory.
On the season, Anunoby is averaging 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 2.1 threes per game on 47.6% from the field and 38.7% from deep. He's been in great form through his last ten games of the regular season, posting averages of 16.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 2.7 threes on 48.0% from the field and 38.7% from three. Anunoby hit just four threes through three games against the Bulls in the regular season, despite shooting 45.4% from the field overall.
The Raptors need Anunoby's shooting to win against the Bulls, who allow the second-most threes per game (13.2). Through 67 appearances this season, Anunoby has converted on three or more three-point field goals 25 times. In his last ten games of the regular season, Anunoby cleared 2.5 threes five times.
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Brandon Ingram is one of the most capable scoring threats in the NBA, but to close out the season, he's been very aggressive on the glass. At DraftKings Sportsbook, Ingram is a +105 to clear 7.5 rebounds when he faces the Oklahoma City Thunder. Against a Thunder team that likes to play small, Ingram's ability on the boards can be a difference-maker.
On the season, Ingram is averaging 24.7 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds on 48.4% from the field and 39.0% from the three-point range. In his ten games to close out the regular season, Ingram averaged 29.0 points, 8.5 assists, and 7.6 rebounds on 50.7% from the field and 33.3% from deep. Ingram only played one game against the Thunder this season, but he posted 34.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 32 minutes of play.
His recent form is a significant factor for this play, and in a matchup without traditional centers, Ingram's willingness to get on the boards will be critical to New Orleans' success. Ingram cleared 7.5 rebounds in five of his last ten games. However, through his 45 regular season appearances, Ingram collected eight or more threes just seven times.
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Luguentz Dort remains one of the NBA's most coveted three-and-D threats, but his recent form is concerning for Oklahoma City's chances. At PointsBet, Dort is a +135 to hit fewer than two threes when he faces the New Orleans Pelicans. Facing one of the league's best teams at defending the arc, Dort will be hard-pressed to change his recent fortunes.
On the season, Dort is averaging 13.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.8 threes per game on 38.8% from the field and 33.0% from deep. Unfortunately, through Dort's last ten games, he's posted averages of 11.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 threes per game on 31.4% from the field and 23.6% from deep. He's not been particularly successful shooting the ball against the Pelicans either, converting on just two of 13 attempts during the regular season.
Dort has hit fewer than two threes thrice in his last ten games. Through his 74 appearances, Dort failed to clear 1.5 threes 40 times. We don't expect Dort to get back into shooting form, especially against a Pelicans team that holds their opponents to just 33.9% from deep (1st in the NBA).
Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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