Toronto Raptors (-11, 194.5 o/u) at Philadelphia 76ers
The Toronto Raptors (27-15, 11-8 away) are doing their best not to go into panic mode, having won only three of their last ten games. Their only win in the last four came against a thoroughly depleted Milwaukee Bucks team, where the Raptors eked out a three-point win as one-point favorites.
The problem for Dwane Casey’s team is it went from averaging 105.9 PPG to a dismal 90 PPG. In Wednesday’s 92-86 loss to Memphis, the Raptors shot just 31.8% as a team.
“We can’t hesitate,” Casey said. “We have to walk into our shots – shots we normally make – and knock them down. The shots will fall.”
As bad as the Raptors’ shooting has been, the coach is finding some positives in the team’s recent play. Over the last two games, Toronto has pulled down 41 offensive boards leading to 41 second-chance points.
Casey said, “What wins in this league is that type of physicality in the paint, that type of rebounding effort and focus, that type of interior play will get it done.”
The good news for the Raptors is the team is traveling south of the border to face the Philadelphia 76ers (8-34, 3-17 home). The Sixers are no longer the worst team in the NBA, however, their dismal season continued on Wednesday with a 98-91 loss to the new worst team in the league, the New York Knicks. It was Philadelphia’s 19th consecutive game without hitting the century mark.
There appears to be internal strife in the 76ers’ clubhouse with 2013’s sixth-overall draft pick Nerlens Noel complaining about not getting the ball enough inside. Some have questioned whether Noel, who didn’t play against the Knicks due to an upper-respiratory infection, was calling out point guard Michael Carter-Williams.
“It’s two friends trying to figure it out,” said 76ers head coach Brett Brown. “It’s healthy. These guys, they amazingly get along and co-exist on buses and locker rooms and all that. Just sometimes, they don’t pass to each other. They’re so tunnel visioned. It’s not that they’re selfish.”
Selfish or not, tonight’s game will feature two teams looking to find their offensive mojo, which means the over (194.5) is the play.
(Photo credit: Philadelphia 76ers (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode].)