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|Team||Point Spread||Total||Money Line|
|Toronto Raptors||+4.5 -109||O 231.5 -112||+148|
|Portland Trail Blazers||-4.5 -112||U 231.5 -109||-180|
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The Toronto Raptors look like a good squad, but they are severely lacking in the middle with all of their centers struggling to make an impact. Meanwhile, the Blazers present an inside-outside threat that the Raptors look ill equipped to handle.
Portland Trail Blazers to Win (-180)
Over 231.5 (-112)
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|Raptors vs Trail Blazers Information|
|What||Toronto Raptors vs Portland Trail Blazers|
|Where||Moda Center, Portland, Oregon|
|When||10:00 PM EST, January 11th, 2021|
|How to Watch/Listen||Sportsnet, NBC Sports Northwest; Rip City Radio 620, CHUM|
|Toronto Raptors||Head-to-Head||Portland Trail Blazers|
|Nick Nurse||Head Coach||Terry Stotts|
|2-7 (13th in East)||Standing||5-4 (4th in West)|
|109.8 (17th of 30)||Off Rtg||113.6 (7th of 30)|
|111.2 (20th of 30)||Def Rtg||111.7 (21st of 30)|
|101.9 (9th of 30)||Pace||102.6 (7th of 30)|
Leaders (Per Game)
|F. Vanvleet (22.3)||PPG||C. McCollum (27.9)|
|P. Siakam (7.9)||RPG||E. Kanter (9.7)|
|K. Lowry (7.4)||APG||D. Lillard (6.6)|
|O. Anunoby (1.9)||SPG||C. McCollum (1.4)|
|C. Boucher (2.1)||BPG||H. Giles, J. Nurkic (0.8)|
|C. Boucher (.574)/F. Vanvleet (8.1)||FG%/FGM||E. Kanter (.656)/C. McCollum (9.9)|
|A. Len (.600)/F. Vanvleet (3.8)||3P%/3PM||H. Giles (.667)/C. McCollum (4.9)|
The Toronto Raptors have gotten off to one of their worst starts since 2010. While there is clearly a good team buried underneath their struggles, there are questions as to whether or not Nick Nurse will be able to salvage something. Specifically, the Toronto Raptors centers have struggled to make an impact over their first nine games.
Aron Baynes and Alex Len were brought in to fill the gap left by Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. Not even filling a fraction of that gap, both have found themselves glued to the bench due to their lack of production. Len has rarely made an impact in his limited minutes, while Baynes’ positive start has developed into two straight DNP-CD’s by head coach Nick Nurse due to his lack of presence.
One of those two, if not both, will see the court against Portland’s dominating big men Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter. The two are traditional centers that call for the heavy presence of players like Baynes and Len. While Chris Boucher has been brilliant so far this season – arguably the Raptors’ best player – his slight 6’10, 200 lb frame doesn’t look suited for this battle. This game will be decided by the production of the bigs.
Much like last season, and most seasons with Damian Lillard at the helm, the Portland Trail Blazers are a fantastic offensive team. Much like last season as well, the Trail Blazers are not a team that focuses on the defensive end of the court.
Pure scorers Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are one of the best backcourt tandems in the league, but their propensity to let their opponents fly by them puts them in difficult situations. While the Blazer bigs are a presence, they don’t offer much on the end of shot-blocking.
In wins, the Blazers allow their opponents to shoot 44.2% from the field. In losses, Portland allows their opponents to shoot 48.7% from the field. While not a stark contrast in the grand scheme of defensive efforts, it’s clear that even the slightest focus in front of their basket is a game-changer. They face an ice-cold Toronto Raptors team, but they don’t want to allow them to find their rhythm on this night.
6⃣ blocks for Chris Boucher!@Raptors 86@warriors 94
Mid-4th Q on NBA LP pic.twitter.com/T5PIBCiWqC
— NBA (@NBA) January 11, 2021
We gave him a mention earlier in the piece, but we’ll give him the focus now. Chris Boucher has been an absolute force for the Toronto Raptors this season. Whether it be finishing inside, hitting from deep, or making key defensive plays, Boucher has been the catalyst of many Toronto Raptors’ runs this season – despite the usual negative result.
Chris Boucher is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds steals, blocks, and three-point shooting. While not a traditional center by any means, Boucher is more than comfortable protecting the paint. While he averages 2.1 blocks per game, Boucher’s help-side work has already earned him six or more blocks in two games so far this year.
When the Raptors eventually go small, Boucher will be relied upon to stretch out the defense against Portland’s slow-footed bigs. At a disadvantage in the weight department, Boucher will have to fight tooth-and-nail, while getting some help from his teammates, in order to prevent being dominated on the glass.
Robert Covington’dan çift el blok!pic.twitter.com/xcMVh0Kna1
— Do Deka (@dodekabasket) January 6, 2021
One of the more under-the-radar acquisitions of the summer, Robert Covington adds a presence to the Portland Trail Blazers that has been needed for a long time.
Covington is a rugged defender that can cover from point guard all the way to center. While he isn’t the strongest player in his role, pure effort, and aggression empower his success. He is second on the team in defensive box plus-minus at 0.5, owing to his tenacity protecting his own hoop.
If the Blazers can get more out of Covington it is on the offensive side. Scoring just 6.6 points per game on 37.7% from the field and 34.1% from three, Covington can be a larger threat when scoring. Not capable of creating offense on his own, Covington could show more willingness to shoot the three while also getting on the offensive glass.
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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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