Phoenix Suns vs Toronto Raptors: Predictions, Odds and Head-to-Head

How to Watch

Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON

When: Thursday, January 17th, 7:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): SN1, Fox Sports Arizona | Arizona Sports 98.7FM / KSUN 1400AM (ES), TSN Radio 1050 Toronto

Phoenix Suns (Away)

Head Coach: Igor Kokoskov {All-Time 11-33 | PHX}

The Phoenix Suns aren’t competing for much this season. With a record of 11-33 the Suns are primed to be picking in the top three of the upcoming NBA Draft. Ranked fifteenth in the West and 9 games back from moving up a spot, it’ll be moral victories going forward for the Suns.

The Suns are 3-7 in their last ten matches and haven’t shown any real rhythm as a team overall. They have however pulled out some impressive wins against the Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns.

There’s very little to expect out of the Suns as they take on the Toronto Raptors. They are essentially outclassed at every position and with Devin Booker’s recent injury don’t even have their biggest gun to lean on. The offence will go through rookie DeAndre Ayton, but he’ll have a tough night matching up with the Toronto front line.

Toronto Raptors (Home)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 33-12 | TOR}

The Toronto Raptors sit comfortably atop the Eastern Conference with a record of 33-12. They will be taking on the Phoenix Suns in the second leg of a back to back after taking on the Boston Celtics.

The Toronto Raptors have been a fantastic team, but they have had a penchant for giving up their leads in recent games. It is in part due to their slew of injuries, however the lack of Fred Vanvleet off of the bench in particular removes the efficiency of the bench offence as a whole.

It should be an easy night out for the Toronto Raptors against the Suns as the sheer lack of talent on the Suns will make it difficult for them to truly compete. Despite that they still have weapons in Warren, Ayton, and Oubre, so any lack of focus could spell disaster for the Raptors.

What’s At Stake?

The Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns have met on very few occasions due to their position in different conferences. In 44 regular season matches, the Phoenix Suns lead the all-time series 29-15 over the Toronto Raptors.

A win for the Suns would be a moral victory at best. With such a huge deficit between them and the next team in the table, very little would result of a win.

The Toronto Raptors are top of the East and are looking to build on their lead. Taking care of business against a weak team is paramount to the Raptors’ mission.

Questions to answer

What’s happened to the Suns defence?

How will the Raptors fare on the back-to-back?

We are going to compare the Phoenix Suns and the Toronto Raptors in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Suns are getting into passing lanes

When was the last time the Phoenix Suns were a team that you thought of as defensive? Surely a very long time ago, but with the pieces the Suns are gathering it seems like it won’t be long before it becomes their identity and Kelly Oubre Jr has been the catalyst.

Since Oubre Jr joined the Phoenix Suns, the team has accumulated a running total of eight games where they’ve totalled twenty or more deflection outings. While deflections are not the sexiest statistic in basketball, it is a clear measure of the teams aggressiveness and length on the perimeter.

What the team wanted out of Trevor Ariza they are getting out of Kelly Oubre Jr. For a team that is not aiming for much in terms of the NBA standings, they should continue to build their team with players that embody the culture they hope to implement.

The average team win percentage on a Road-Home is 60%

The Toronto Raptors are 8-2 in back-to-back games this season. Despite the fact that they are usually without one of Kawhi Leonard or Kyle Lowry during these matchups, the Raptors bench squad has been able to make up for their absence.

Nick Nurse has done a masterful job this season managing minutes for his players. In back-to-backs he has deepened the rotation to keep players fresh. Earlier in the season, forward Kawhi Leonard did not participate in both matches of a back-to-back but is likely to participate in both this time out.

Don’t be surprised to see Nick Nurse deepen the rotation for this match after they’d taken on the Boston Celtics. That leaves room for the likes of Chris Boucher, Jordan Loyd, Malachi Richardson, and new acquisition Patrick McCaw to make their mark as contributors for the squad.

Phoenix Suns Roster Notes

G Devin Booker – Day To Day (Back) – Booker has been ruled OUT for Saturday’s game (Jan. 12) against the Nuggets.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

F CJ Miles – Day To Day (Hip) – Miles did not play in Sunday’s game (Jan. 13).

C Jonas Valanciunas – Out (Thumb) – Head coach Nick Nurse said Valanciunas will miss at least another 4 weeks..

G Fred Vanvleet – Day To Day (Hip contusion) – VanVleet did not play in Sunday’s game (Jan. 13).

Head-to-Head: DeAndre Ayton vs Serge Ihaka

DeAndre Ayton

Center | 7-1, 250lb (216cm, 113kg) | Arizona | Exp. Rookie

16.6 PPG | 2.1 APG | 10.7 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 1.0 BPG | 1.8 TOV | .597 FG% | .000 3P%

Serge Ibaka

Center/Power Forward | 6-10, 235lb (208cm, 106kg) | Republic of the Congo | Exp. 9 Years

15.9 PPG | 1.5 APG | 7.2 RPG | 0.5 SPG | 1.4 BPG | 1.9 TOV | .531 FG% | .303 3P%

DeAndre Ayton and Serge Ibaka should present a match between two incredibly strong and athletic players at the pivot position. Ayton has the strength of a power player and the finesse of a guard, while Ibaka is an incredible shot-blocker who has refined his offensive game to become deadly from mid-range and beyond the arc.

DeAndre Ayton is one of the NBA’s budding stars. He is an absolute unit, talented, and has the charisma to be a future star. Despite his skillset, he is playing most of his time as a roll man. 72% of his baskets are assisted, as post-ups aren’t in the game plan for the Phoenix Suns. Despite that, he’s shown ability and efficiency regardless of matchup which is incredibly promising for the future of the Suns.

Serge Ibaka is once again one of the NBA’s premier talents protecting the rim. Since his move to the center position, Ibaka has undergone a transformation to his production that suggests he is not as limited as critics once believed. He is deadly from mid-range and his shot selection has improved greatly. Ibaka is a threat against any NBA center and is still a fantastic defender.

Phoenix Suns at Toronto Raptors Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Toronto Raptors favoured over the Phoenix Suns by 13, with an over/under of 110.