Toronto Raptors vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Predictions, Odds, and Roster Notes

WSN Picks: Toronto Raptors defeat Oklahoma City Thunder

How to Watch

What: Toronto Raptors at Oklahoma City Thunder

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

When: Wednesday, 15 January 2020, 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): TSN1/4/5+RDS2, Fox Sports Oklahoma | TSN Radio 1050 Toronto, WWLS 98.1FM OKC / 930AM (ESP)

Toronto Raptors (Away)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 83-38 | TOR}

Season Record: 25-14

Projected Starting Five: (G) Fred Vanvleet – (G) Norman Powell – (F) OG Anunoby – (F) Pascal Siakam – (C) Serge Ibaka

Top Performers:

  • (F) Pascal Siakam – 36.4 MPG | 24.7 PPG | 7.9 RPG | 3.6 APG
  • (G) Kyle Lowry – 38.5 MPG | 20.6 PPG | 7.8 APG | 4.8 RPG
  • (G) Fred Vanvleet – 36.3 MPG | 18.0 PPG | 7.0 APG | 3.9 RPG

The Toronto Raptors continue to battle some difficult injuries to members of its roster. While they are coming closer to full health, Toronto has performed admirably to this point. Having secured fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto is coming off of a loss to the San Antonio Spurs. A loss in which they struggled to find their range late, forfeiting a 16 point lead to lose by a single point at the buzzer. Siakam returned to the lineup but displayed some visible rust to his game.

The Raptors take on an Oklahoma City Thunder team that gave them the business last time out. Toronto will have most of their roster back in the fold this time out, so it may produce a different outcome. They will need to contain Oklahoma City’s three-headed point guard attack though.

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Oklahoma City Thunder (Home)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 221-146 | OKC}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Chris Paul – (G) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – (F) Terence Ferguson – (F) Danilo Gallinari – (C) Steven Adams

Season Record: 22-17

Top Performers:

  • (G) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 35.2 MPG | 19.9 PPG | 5.3 RPG | 2.7 APG
  • (G) Dennis Schroeder – 30.6 MPG | 18.3 PPG | 3.8 RPG | 3.7 APG
  • (F) Danilo Gallinari – 30.3 MPG | 18.3 PPG | 5.6 RPG | .397 3P%

The Oklahoma City Thunder were expected to be in a rebuilding phase this season. But the leadership of Chris Paul and an exponentially improving crop of young players has bolstered their success rate. They sit comfortably at seventh in the Western Conference table.

The Thunder are coming off of a difficult loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. While the Lakers were lacking a number of their starters, OKC couldn’t stop their depth or the playmaking brilliance of Rajon Rondo.

When they take on the Toronto Raptors, the Thunder will be up against one of the toughest teams in the NBA. They defeated them in their last meeting, but the Raptors are much healthier than during their previous bout.

What’s At Stake?

The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors don’t meet each other often. Over the course of 22 regular-season meetings, the Thunder lead the Raptors 14-8.

A win for the Oklahoma City Thunder would bring them within a game of the Dallas Mavericks who are sixth in the Western Conference.

A win for the Toronto Raptors would give them a full game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers who trail them at fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Questions to answer

How will the Toronto Raptors fare as their lineup returns to health?

How will the Oklahoma City Thunder convert at the basket?

We are going to compare the Toronto Raptors and the Oklahoma City Thunder in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

How Will the Raptors Fare With Key Pieces Returning

The Toronto Raptors have been riddled with injury all season long. Against the Spurs, Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell returned. However, they are still missing the likes of Fred Vanvleet, Marc Gasol, and Dewan Hernandez.

Last time out against the Thunder, the Raptors were missing the transition offense ability of Powell and Siakam. They’ll have that back, but will be missing the playmaking of Fred Vanvleet. Gasol did not play last time out either.

The improved depth will only aid the Toronto Raptors this time against the Thunder. While Vanvleet is out, Siakam slides into the role of secondary playmaker nicely. While Siakam was rusty in his return against San Antonio, Powell was promising with a 20 point game.

Unselfishness Is OKC’s Calling Card

The Oklahoma City Thunder are overachieving in every measure this season. While Chris Paul is the most visible addition to the team, it is their point guard triumvirate that is leading them to their unprecedented success.

Chris Paul, Dennis Schroeder, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander bring to the court a versatility that is not matched in the league. They are three of the team’s top four scorers, and also power the team’s fantastic ball movement.

Together, the three contribute 54.9 points, 12.9 assists, and 3.5 steals per game. Schroeder wasn’t available in their last game, but the combo of Gilgeous-Alexander and Paul shredded the Raptors for 57 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. If they can produce similarly from the wing, the Raptors will face a similar result.

Kyle Lowry Will Drive This Offence

While the return of Pascal Siakam is great for the Toronto Raptors going forward, it will be Kyle Lowry who will drive the success of the Raptors in this game. While his shot-making ability is needed, the returnees to the lineup will need his ability to organize the play.

Last time against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kyle Lowry was a part of two key issues. He stopped playing on the game-defining play and committed six turnovers on the evening. On a positive note, he produced 15 assists to only two turnovers in his last match against the San Antonio Spurs.

Without Fred Vanvleet in the lineup, Lowry will have the majority of playmaking duties. With shooters, Matt Thomas and Norman Powell back in the fold, Lowry’s ability to move the ball will be essential. Backup Patrick McCaw will also have his fair share of point guard duties.

The Thunder Must Attack the Paint

If the Oklahoma City Thunder have one skill that is singular in the NBA, it is their ability to create and score in the paint. Their three-point guards lead their offence, but their role players are who help capitalize on opportunities.

Nerlens Noel and Steven Adams are low-usage, high-production players in the Thunder offence. Both shoot over 60% from the field but contribute little from the perimeter. Their shooting as a team is poor, ranking 25th in percentage and 29th in makes from three.

The Thunder will have to contend with some capable shot-blockers in Serge Ibaka, Chris Boucher, and OG Anunoby at the rim. For them to be successful, the Thunder must convert when they attack the basket.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

(G) Fred Vanvleet – 12 Jan 2020 – Out (Hamstring) – VanVleet is listed as OUT for Sunday’s (Jan. 12) game against the Spurs.

(C) Marc Gasol – 12 Jan 2020 – Out (Hamstring) – Gasol is listed as OUT for Sunday’s (Jan. 12) game against the Spurs.

(C) Dewan Hernandez – 31 Dec 2019 – Out (Ankle) – Hernandez has been sidelined since Dec. 16 against Cleveland with a sprained right ankle.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

(C) Nerlen Noel – 10 Jan 2020 – Out (Ankle) – Noel is listed as OUT for Saturday’s (Jan 11) game against the Lakers.

(G) Andre Roberson – 4 Dec 2019 – Out (Knee) – The Thunder announced that Roberson will continue his rehab away from the team for the time being and there is no timetable for his return.

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Head-to-Head: (C) Serge Ibaka vs (C) Steven Adams

Former teammates turned rivals face off when the Toronto Raptors and the Oklahoma City Thunder face off.

Ibaka is more of a finesse centre who is adept at protecting the paint. Meanwhile, Adams is your classically bruising pivot man. Their contrary styles will be crucial to the success of this match.

(C) Serge Ibaka (7-0, 235lb (213cm, 106kg) | Republic of the Congo | 10 Years)

 

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
19-2030TOR2926.615.18.61.2.499.373

Serge Ibaka has been on a hot streak as of late. With Marc Gasol out of the lineup, Ibaka has made the centre position his own. Over his last eight matches, Ibaka is averaging 19.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.

Ibaka’s matchup with Adams will be his toughest rebounding assignment yet. His former teammate is not only strong, but relentless on the glass. If Ibaka can punish Adams from range, the Raptors will have one less issue in the paint.

(C) Steven Adams (6-11, 265lb (211cm, 120kg) | Pitt | 6 Years)

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
19-2026OKC3628.312.010.22.7.614.000

Steven Adams is a mainstay for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The disparity between his production in wins and losses with the Thunder is minimal, as his consistency makes him so valuable for the Thunder.

When Adams faces the Raptors, he will have to convert in the paint. His ability to free teammates with screens is just as valuable. Adams’ quiet value on the court is a visual contrast to Ibaka, but he will have to prove he can hedge and recover against the rangy big man.

Toronto Raptors at Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions and Odds

The odds will be updated as they are made available.

Why the Toronto Raptors Will Win

The Toronto Raptors’ strength is running in transition. That will absolutely be their goal against the Thunder, who are just as adept athletically. Toronto’s gritty defence, on top of their rapid offence, will be hard for the Thunder to manage.

Why the Oklahoma City Thunder Will Win

The Thunder are playing through Chris Paul and it is working. They have one of the best two-point field goal percentages in the league, showing they are dependent on his playmaking ability. If Paul can orchestrate open looks for his teammates, they can beat the Raptors’ defense.

WSN’s Pick

The Toronto Raptors not only lost to the Thunder by a single point last time out, but they also lost their last game by one point after having a 16 point lead. Toronto is too disciplined to allow such mistakes two games in a row.

WSN Picks: Toronto Raptors defeat Oklahoma City Thunder

Toronto Raptors vs Oklahoma City Thunder Odds

The latest odds for the Raptors vs Thunder are provided by bet365 NJ, DraftKings Sportsbook, and 888Sport NJ.

Money Line

SportsbookRaptorsThunder
bet365 NJ+105-125
DraftKingsTBATBA
888Sport NJ+102-120

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