Records: Raptors (18-29), Thunder (19-27)
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Where to Watch
Date: Wednesday, March 31
Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: TSN 1/4/5
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
The Raptors are in danger of letting another losing streak build as they travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder for the first time this season.
On the heels of a disappointing loss against a young and growing Detroit Pistons team on Wednesday, Toronto is faced with a similar task against a Thunder squad that is currently constructed in a very near fashion.
With Canadian stars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (foot) and Luguentz Dort (concussion) out, and veteran big man Al Horford shut down for the remainder of the season, Oklahoma City has begun to experiment and see what other talent it has on the roster.
Enter players like 7-foot-2 centre Moses Brown, crafty rookie guard Theo Maledon, jack-of-all-trades 7-foot forward Aleksej Pokusevski and versatile big man Isaiah Roby.
Brown went undrafted in 2019 after one season at UCLA and spent all but nine games of his rookie season in the G League after signing a two-way deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. With the Thunder entering a rebuilding phase, they scooped up Brown on a two-way deal prior to the start of the season, but he only played sparingly (six games) over the team’s first 36 contests of the season. Since then, the 21-year-old has made the most of an increased opportunity, averaging 11.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game over the last 10 games. He was making a name for himself with an interior presence and aggressive rebounding, and following a monster game of 21 points and 23 rebounds against the Boston Celtics, OKC elected to sign Brown to a four-year deal for his efforts.
21 PTS (career-high)
23 REB (ties franchise high)
19 REB in a half (franchise high)
He’s averaging 14.3 PTS & 16.8 REB over his last 4 games. pic.twitter.com/d2nmPjtaBR
– Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 28, 2021
Maledon has taken over as the team’s starting point guard and he’s been clicking since the All-Star break, averaging 11.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 41.2 percent from 3. Pokusevski has become one of the most curious players in the NBA as lengthy 7-footer with the skills of a guard, although at times it’s unclear what his ceiling could truly be, given how raw the 19-year-old’s skill set is.
– OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) March 30, 2021
Roby was a second-round pick in 2019 and was traded to the Thunder from the Dallas Mavericks. At 6-foot-8, 230 lbs., the Nebraska product has the size and strength to play physical in the paint, but also the coordination and quickness to play on the perimeter. Averaging 10.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and over one block and one steal per game since the All-Star break, he rounds out a foursome that has shown some promise for the Thunder.
Toronto’s biggest issue has been on the interior, so it will have its hands full trying to keep Brown and Roby off of the glass. They will also need much more of a scoring punch from their bench unit that ranks 24th in the NBA in scoring. But everything else aside, the Raptors will have to see a different version of stars Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, who combined for just 24 points while shooting 36.4 percent from the field in the loss to the Pistons.
Oklahoma City, like Toronto, is riding a three-game losing streak, but their players play with a chip on their shoulder every time they step on the floor. Can the Raptors match that intensity and pick up a much-needed win?
Raptors vs. Thunder: Betting odds, spread, over/under
Spread: Raptors -7.5 (-110), Thunder + 7.5 (-110)
Raptors Money line: -310
Pistons Money line: +255
Over/under: 222.5 (-110)
*Odds courtesy of William Hill Sports Book
- DeAndre’ Bembry (health and safety protocols) – Out
- Jalen Harris (right hip pointer) – Out
- Patrick McCaw (swollen left knee) – Out
- Paul Watson (health and safety protocols) – Out
- Darius Bazley (left shoulder contusion) – Out
- Luguentz Dort (concussion protocol) – Out
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (plantar fasciitis) – Out
- Mike Muscala (right ankle sprain) – Out
Last Time They Played
Date: Jan. 15, 2020
Score: Raptors 130, Thunder 121
Raptors: Norman Powell – 23 PTS (9-11 FG, 3-4 3PT), 2 REB
Thunder: Dennis Schroder – 25 PTS (10-17 FG, 5-10 3PT), 6 AST, 3 REB, 2 STL
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