Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Toronto Raptors at Charlotte Hornets

Where: Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC

When: Friday, April 5th at 7:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): SN1, Fox Sports Southeast – Charlotte | TSN Radio 1050 Toronto

Toronto Raptors (Away)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 56-23 | TOR}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Kyle Lowry – (G) Danny Green – (F) Kawhi Leonard – (F) Pascal Siakam – (C) Marc Gasol

The Toronto Raptors are comfortably in the second seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference and look to close out the season matching their franchise high in wins, 59. With a 56-23 record, the Toronto Raptors have three games left in the season – two of those being on the road. They seem locked into second place, so they are looking more for rhythm than a result in this game.

The Toronto Raptors are riding high on a five game winning streak, most recently winning over their rivals the Brooklyn Nets. Toronto is also 7-3 over their last ten games, giving them a commanding 6.5 game lead over the third place Philadelphia 76ers.

The Raptors are facing off against a desperate Charlotte Hornets side. The Hornets are a talented team, but it hasn’t come together for them this season. They are still mathematically eligible for the post-season, so the Raptors will have to endure an all-out attack from the Hornets.

Charlotte Hornets (Home)

Head Coach: James Borrego {All-Time 46-62 | ORL, CHA}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Kemba Walker – (G) Dwane Bacon – (F) Miles Bridges – (F) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – (C) Bismack Biyombo

The Charlotte Hornets seem to be in for a gut-punch come the end of the season. With the playoffs drawing nearer they are not yet eliminated from contention, but being 2.5 games back with four games remaining makes the task seem impossible. With a current record of 36-42, the Hornets are tenth in the East.

The Hornets have no one to blame for their position other than themselves. Over their last ten games, Charlotte has gone 5-5, highlighted by a three-game losing streak to the Lakers, Warriors, and Jazz. To go 1-3 on their last road trip seems a sentence to the draft lottery, but their hopes will be alive with a win over the Raptors.

Despite taking a win from the Toronto Raptors in their last meeting, the Hornets surely don’t want to replicate the means by which they attained it. They were outplayed in the second half of the game and only won at the buzzer. They will want to tighten the screws in this game, as the Toronto Raptors have improved drastically since that match.

What’s At Stake?

The Charlotte Hornets and the Toronto Raptors have a rather young rivalry. In 79 regular season games, the Hornets lead the Raptors 43-36.

A win for the Toronto Raptors would bring them within two games of the Milwaukee Bucks who are first in the East.

A win for the Hornets would keep them alive in the playoff race, and just 1.5 games back of the Miami Heat.

Questions to answer

What can stop the Raptors frontcourt?

What needs to happen for the Hornets to play in late April?

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

The Raptors Have A Deadly Front Court Rotation

The Toronto Raptors entered this season with one of the deepest lineups in the NBA. Post All-Star Break their roster has thinned, but the overall effectiveness of their lineup has increased. Most notably, the Raptors have the strongest frontcourt rotation in the league.

The Toronto Raptors sport three-time All-Star and former defensive player of the year Marc Gasol at the pivot position. At power forward, Pascal Siakam is a third-year player who is the leading candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year. Off the bench, they tout three-time All-Defence first team member Serge Ibaka – with auxiliary pieces like 2017 first-round draft pick OG Anunoby out of the United Kingdom and 2019 G-League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Chris Boucher from Saint Lucia and Canada.

Their main rotation of three players is already formidable, but their depth is also something to worry about. With Gasol in the lineup, the Raptors have the best defensive rating in the NBA. While their most talented scorers are on the wing, the Raptors’ inside presence is something that is matched by incredibly few in the NBA.

The Hornets Are Still Alive, For Now

Mathematically the Hornets are still in the race for the playoffs, but a number of very specific things need to occur if they hope to be playing in late April. The Hornets are now the most talented team in the league, but they have the heart to make some noise going into the end of the season. Let’s take a look at what they need to do:

  • The Hornets need to win all of their matches. While not definitive, a single loss severely hurts their chances.
  • The Miami Heat can do no better than 2-2 in their last games.
  • The Magic must lose one of their last two matches.

In the simplest way of saying, the Hornets must finish with a 40-42 record while having one of the Magic, Nets, or Heat do the same. They can do all they can, but Charlotte is very dependant on the result of the other teams. On the plus side, the Hornets own the tie breaker over all of those teams and can finish as high as seventh in the East. They face a terrifyingly talented Raptors squad, but a win over them bodes well for their season.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

F OG Anunoby – 3 Apr 2019 – Day To Day (Head) – Anunoby did not play in Wednesday’s (Apr. 3) game.

G-F Patrick McCaw – 3 Apr 2019 – Day To Day (Thumb) – McCaw did not play in Wednesday’s (Apr. 3) game.

Charlotte Hornets Roster Notes

F Marvin Williams – 3 Apr 2019 – Day To Day (Foot) – Williams did not play in Wednesday’s (April 3) game.

C Cody Zeller – 3 Apr 2019 – Day To Day (Left Knee Soreness) – Zeller did not play in Wednesday’s (Apr. 3) game.

Head-to-Head: Pascal Siakam (TOR) vs Kemba Walker (CHA)

While these two won’t see too much time guarding each other one-on-one, Pascal Siakam and Kemba Walker are integral to their teams’ success. Siakam has upped his game to the point he is likely the NBA’s most improved player, while Walker is the only reliable source of production on the Hornets.

Pascal Siakam

Power Forward | 6-9, 230lb (206cm, 104kg) | New Mexico State/Cameroon | Exp. 2 Years

17.0 PPG | 3.1 APG | 6.9 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 1.9 TOV | .546 FG% | .358 3P%

Siakam has been brilliant all year for the Raptors, but in his last game against the Nets, he showed fantastic resolve. To begin the game, Siakam started 0-5 from the floor; he was stifled by the Nets collapsing defense. But he adjusted, exploited individual mismatches, and took advantage to the tune of 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists on the evening. Siakam’s game evolves as the minutes go by, what he can accomplish seems immeasurable.

Kemba Walker

Point Guard | 6-1, 184lb (185cm, 83kg) | UConn | Exp. 7 Years

25.3 PPG | 5.9 APG | 4.4 RPG | 1.3 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 2.6 TOV | .429 FG% | .354 3P%

You can’t doubt Kemba Walker’s heart. The miniature point guard is doing everything to keep his team alive in the playoff race. He’s averaging 39.5 points per game in his last two, as his teammates have failed to deliver offensively. They have a tough night out against the Raptors and Walker is sure to want to improve on his last performance against the Raptors – a 15 points, 3-17 evening.

Toronto Raptors at Charlotte Hornets Predictions and Odds

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