Raptors Closing out the First Half

Raptors with a couple of challenging games to close out the first half

San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors

lowryDeRozan and Lowry lead the Raptors past the Clippers Friday evening with a convincing 123-107 win against the L.A. club who didn’t look that powerful in the last quarter. The Raps seem like they are picking up speed with DeRozan back from injury. Tonight, a bigger challenge awaits the team as the Spurs mosey on into town. Their coach, Gregg Popovich, who’s got five championship rings in his possession, has the chance to add another major accomplishment to his impressive list – his 1,000th win – if he can lead his Spurs past Toronto. The Raps will do everything to prevent this since they’re coming off a high from bouncing back to win in the Clippers’ game.

Dwayne Casey won’t just rollover and let Popovich take the prize. In pregame interviews the coach touted “I loved the way we bounced back…I loved the fight and tenacity we had defensively against one of the top scoring teams in the league. I loved the way the guys responded.” Expect a similar response at home tonight with Lowry and DeRozan taking the lead.

The Spurs beat the Miami Heat effortlessly Friday night, in a rematch of last year’s NBA final, winning eight of their last 10. But they’re starting a long road trip which lasts nine games around the All-Star break and keeps them away from home court until March 4. San Antonio would like to open this road trip by continuing its dominance over Toronto after winning a series-best seven in a row against the Raps including the last four road meetings. That’s why it’s a good bet to see this imbalance even out.

Raps over Spurs odds at 2.05

Over/Under: Under 197 odds at 2.20

Washingtons Wizards at Toronto Raptors

On Wednesday, the Raps will be host to the Washington Wizards who’ve have hit a losing skid and up to now are baffled as to why they’ve been on a five-game losing streak. Tensions bubbled over in the Thursday loss to Charlottle, when an 11 point lead was erased in a decisive fourth quarter. Wizards center Marcin Gortat was quoted after the game saying, “I don’t know what to tell you right now, seriously. It’s silly. . . . We’re supposed to win a game here.”

With less assurances in Toronto, who should’ve been tested hard on Sunday agianst the Spurs, the Wizards have a chance to redeem themselves but it could be a tough match up since Toronto has been on a hot streak as of late. Their slump has also coincided with health issues and a tougher schedule, where as the Raps overall have been healthy. The Wizard’s John Wall is still battling migraines and slowly recovring from a sprained right ankle.

In their last meeting, the Raps came storming back after losing a large second-half lead to win in overtime 120-116: a win led by first-time All Star Kyle Lowry. If the Wizard’s lack of ball movement that was lacking in the second half of Thursday’s loss continues in Toronto, you can bet on a quick and swift defeat by the Raptors.

Raptors over Wizards