Photo Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Raptors are set to face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight in the fourth game of their current home stand in Tampa Bay. The Raps will try to close out the weekend on a strong note as they look for their third consecutive win.
With only 15 games left in the regular season, the Raptors are battling with the Chicago Bulls for the tenth spot in the Eastern Conference to secure a play-in position for the upcoming playoffs. With such a close race to the end, the Raptors will have to capitalize on every game they play moving forward.
Oklahoma City currently holds the worst offensive rating in the league at 104.2 and are third last in points per game at only 105.3 PPG. Despite this, the Thunder took the previous matchup against the Raptors back on March 31st, winning by a score of 113-103. With the Thunder currently on a nine game losing streak, look for the Raps to take advantage and rely on diverse scoring to even the season series.
This game is full of Canadian talent on both sides. For the Raptors, Montreal natives Chris Boucher and Khem Birch will look to impact the game on both ends with their offensive and defensive presence. They combined for 5 blocks in the win against the Magic and will look to build on that in this game. The player to watch on the Thunder is fellow Montrealer Luguentz Dort who has been hot lately, averaging 28.5 points, 4.5 triples and 2.5 steals over his last two games. Expect Dort to carry the offensive load tonight in place of Canadian teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who remains out with a foot injury sustained back in late March.
The Raptors rotation was shifted recently with starters Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby all resting for last Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic. With no confirmed news yet if they will continue to rest for tonight’s game, expect to see elevated roles from Malachi Flynn, Yuta Watanabe and Paul Watson Jr., who all stepped up offensively in the absence of the key starters. Watson and Watanabe both came off career highs in scoring against the Magic and will look to build on their impressive breakout performances.
Tip off is for at 7:00 p.m. EST from Amalie Arena.