Portland Trail Blazers vs Toronto Raptors: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors

Where: Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada

When: Friday, March 1st at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, NBCSNW/Blazers Pass, SN1 | Rip City Radio 620, TSN Radio 1050 Toronto

Portland Trail Blazers (Away)

Head Coach: Terry Stotts {All-Time 424-411 | ATL, MIL, POR}

The Portland Trail Blazers are resting comfortably at fourth in the Western Conference with a record of 37-23. While they’ve owned the position for a while now, they’re not entirely safe with James Harden’s Houston Rocket’s just two games behind them.

The Trail Blazers have been able to maintain some consistency. Over their last ten games, they are 7-3 and have produced winning performances over the Jazz, Spurs, and Warriors.

The Trail Blazers will have a tough time with the Toronto Raptors. Of the teams that they’ve faced on this seven-game road trip, the Toronto Raptors are certainly the most formidable. They have the backcourt and wings to keep up with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum on both ends while they also have bigs in Ibaka and Gasol to challenge their own duo of Kanter and Nurkic. It will be an exciting match.

Toronto Raptors (Home)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 45-17 | TOR}

The Toronto Raptors are enjoying a good run of form as of late. They’re coming off of a dominant win over the Boston Celtics and with a record of 45-17 the Raptors are intent on making a run for first in the East.

Toronto has been brilliant as of late. Not only did they handle the Boston Celtics, but they’ve gone 8-2 in their last ten with a sole slip up against the Orlando Magic. Just two games back from the Milwaukee Bucks, the Toronto Raptors are in prime position to reclaim their throne atop the East.

Toronto faces off against a dangerous Portland Trail Blazers side. It was a tight affair in their last meeting and the Raptors ended up on the losing side of the match. They had positive contributions from their starting line but they struggled to find production from their reserves. Their lineup is wildly different from last time out, so the Blazers can’t bank on a similar performance.

What’s At Stake?

The Portland Trail Blazers and the Toronto Raptors have not met many times in the history of their franchises. In 44 games, the Trail Blazers lead the Toronto Raptors 28-16 in the all-time series.

A win for the Portland Trail Blazers would bring them within 0.5 games of the Oklahoma City Thunder who are in third.

A win for the Toronto Raptors would bring them within 1.5 games of the Milwaukee Bucks who are ranked first in the Eastern Conference.

Questions to answer

What can the Trail Blazers Carry Over?

Are the Raptors primed to take the East?

We are going to compare the Portland Trail Blazers and the Toronto Raptors in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Blazers Won Their Last Match Against the Raptors

The Portland Trail Blazers were able to come away with a narrow six-point victory over the Toronto Raptors in their last meeting in December. Their ability on the glass and in protecting the ball was vital to their success.

In light of a difficult shooting night for McCollum, Lillard was lights out going 8-10 from the field and 3-3 from three in the game. The switch ability of Al-Farouq Aminu was also key in limiting the Raptors’ attack off of screen and rolls.

The Raptors boast a very different lineup at this point in the season. They now boast an incredible bench attack, led by veterans Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin. Fred Vanvleet won’t be available in this match but the Raptors have been limiting their lineup in preparation of the playoffs and won’t be allowing the Blazers a break. It will be an exciting match.

The Raptors Have the “Easiest” Remaining Schedule

When the Toronto Raptors take on the Portland Trail Blazers, they will eliminate one of five teams they have left to compete against who are above .500. Not a stroke of luck, a maddeningly difficult early-season schedule was handled brilliantly by the Raptors and they now look to reap the fruits of their labor.

The Raptors haven’t held first in the East since the All-Star Break but will now compete with the Milwaukee Bucks for the honour of home court advantage in the playoffs. The only teams that Toronto will take on who are above .500 are the Thunder, Rockets, and Nets. Outside of that, it will be rebuilding squads.

The Raptors should tread carefully against the teams they face off against at this late junction of the season. It has been a story for the Raptors that they always enter the NBA Playoffs with injury and are a shadow of themselves come to the post-season. With their current depth, expect the Raptors to go deep into their bench to spell their most valuable performers.

Portland Trail Blazers Roster Notes

G-F Evan Turner – 26 Feb 2019 – Out (Left Knee Soreness) – Turner has been ruled OUT for Wednesday’s (Feb 27) game.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

G Fred VanVleet – 13 Feb 2019 – Out (Left Thumb Soreness) – The Raptors announced G Fred VanVleet will undergo surgery on his thumb and miss approximately five weeks.

Head-to-Head: Jusuf Nurkic (POR)vs Serge Ibaka (TOR)

Jusuf Nurkic

Center | 7-0, 275lb (213cm, 124kg) | Cedevita/Bosnia and Herzegovina | Exp. 4 Years

15.4 PPG | 3.2 APG | 10.2 RPG | 1.0 SPG | 1.5 BPG | 2.3 TOV | .510 FG% | .115 3P%

Serge Ibaka

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

15.8 PPG | 1.5 APG | 7.9 RPG | 0.5 SPG | 1.3 BPG | 1.7 TOV | .526 FG% | .270 3P%

In a matchup between teams with such incredible wing threats – Lillard, McCollum, Lowry, Leonard, Siakam – the biggest impact on the game will likely come from the pivot position. Jusuf Nurkic and Serge Ibaka are two of the NBA’s most productive centers and they will face off on this night.

Jusuf Nurkic’s career has been revived with the Trail Blazers. He’s been able to act as a third option in the post for the Blazers when McCollum and Lillard don’t have it going, as well as act as a playmaker out of the high post. Ibaka doesn’t have the strength to handle him inside, so Nurkic is sure to try to exploit the Congolese center.

Speaking of career resurgences Ibaka has really changed his game going into this season with the Raptors. He is being as productive as ever on the offensive end and is still a threat inside and out on the defensive end. Nurkic’s slow feet are a liability on the defensive end as Ibaka is a capable roller and popper off the screen. If Ibaka can get his shot going, Nurkic may get a quick hook.

Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors Predictions and Odds

The oddsmakers have the Toronto Raptors favored over the Portland Trail Blazers by 5, with an over/under of 110.