There would normally be four All-Stars on the court Wednesday night when the Toronto Raptors make their only visit of the season to Oklahoma City, but the Raptors likely will be down one of their two stars.
NBA Point Spread and Betting Analysis
It would have been two terrific individual matchups on Wednesday if everyone played: All-Star point guards Kyle Lowry of the Raptors and Russell Westbrook of the Thunder squaring off as well as All-Star forwards and MVP candidates in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George (although neither will win the MVP). However, Lowry likely won’t be playing (see below).
Oklahoma City is slumping and has slipped to sixth in the West – it could easily be eighth by Wednesday night with another loss, although there’s little chance the Thunder actually miss the postseason.
It’s pretty rare for teams in opposite conferences to have not played one another this deep into the regular season but that’s the case here. They turn around and play again Friday in Toronto. The Thunder have taken the past three in the series. Westbrook was his usual triple-double self last year in the series, averaging 33.5 points, 13.5 assists and 10.5 rebounds in the two games. George averaged 27.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, and Steven Adams 21.5 points. Lowry averaged 17.5 points and 10.0 assists.
While the Thunder have won and covered the past three in the series, they are 4-6 ATS overall in the previous 10 vs. Toronto.
The Raptors as expected rested Leonard in the second of a back-to-back on Monday against the sorry Knicks and still had little problem in a 128-92 blowout victory at home to reach 50 victories for the fourth time in franchise history (and fourth straight season). Lowry returned after missing the previous two games with a sore left ankle and then proceeded to leave in the third quarter with an injured right one. Seems likely he sits out as it’s more important Lowry gets right for the playoffs.
Jeremy Lin stepped up Monday with 20 points and so did Fred VanVleet with 13 points and 12 assists for his first career double-double. Serge Ibaka served the finale of his three-game suspension and will play Wednesday. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Thunder.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City has been a very streaky team all season and it’s going the wrong way currently on a three-game losing streak. Westbrook had to sit out Monday’s 116-107 home upset loss to Miami because of an accumulation of technical fouls, but he’ll be back in there and is averaging yet another triple-double at 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.5 assists. He isn’t having a great season shooting from the field, though.
Dennis Schroder has been a nice offseason pickup and started for Westbrook on Monday with 20 points and six assists. George is having his best season and chipped in 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists. He’s second in the NBA in scoring (28.3 ppg) and first in steals (2.22 spg).