Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Records: Raptors (23-34), Thunder (20-36)
Where to Watch
Date: Sunday, April 18
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
After two strong wins, the Raptors are back in action as they host a Thunder team that has dropped nine straight.
On Friday, Toronto earned an 11-point win over the Orlando Magic as Paul Watson Jr. and Yuta Watanabe each put forth the best scoring nights of their respective careers. Watson, who also earned the first start of his career, finished with 30 points after shooting 10-for-13 from the field, including 8-for-11 beyond the arc. Watanabe came off the bench to score 21 points (on 7-for-11 shooting) and also pulled down six rebounds.
TAKEAWAYS: Watson catches fire in commanding win over Magic
Both Watson and Watanabe were needed to step up on Friday as the Raptors were again without several key players, with OG Anunoby (knee soreness), Kyle Lowry (rest), Pascal Siakam (rest) and Gary Trent Jr. (ankle soreness) all inactive for the game.
Fred VanVleet, who missed six games with a hip injury and one game for a league-mandated suspension, did return to the lineup on Friday, scoring six points (on 3-for-11 shooting) and dishing out six assists in 23 minutes of action.
After the NBA Saturday announced that it had fined the Raptors $25,000 for failing to comply with policies governing player rest and injury reporting, the team will be without Anunoby, Jalen Harris, Lowry, Siakam and VanVleet against the Thunder on Sunday.
The Raptors enter the day just a half-game behind the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls, who are in 11th and 10th place in the East, respectively. A win over OKC would temporarily move Toronto back ahead of Chicago and Washington, as both teams are idle on Sunday.
The Thunder, on the other hand, have fallen to 13th in the Western Conference standings as a result of their recent losing streak. In its last time out, Oklahoma City suffered a six-point loss at the hands of the Detroit Pistons.
In Friday's loss, the Thunder were led by 26 points (on 9-for-20 shooting) from Montrealer Luguentz Dort, who also scored a career-high 42 points in a loss to the Utah Jazz earlier in the week.
Keeping Up With The Canadians 🇨🇦- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) April 17, 2021
Luguentz Dort | vs. Detroit
3 THREE POINTERS
2 ASSISTS#ThunderUp | @okcthunder pic.twitter.com/xhVXrezZjj
With OKC dealing with a bevy of injuries, its focus has shifted to the development of its young players, with Dort looking to develop and diversify an offensive repertoire to add to his already-imposing presence as an All-Defensive Team calibre defender.
MORE: Inside Dort's career night
With Dort, Khem Birch and Chris Boucher all set to suit up in this one, there could potentially be three natives of Montreal on the floor at the same time.
The Thunder's other Canadian, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, hasn't played since March 22 due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Understandably, OKC is taking the cautious approach with its franchise player, resulting in more lead guard responsibilities for the 21-year-old Dort and 19-year-old rookie Théo Maledon.
With both the Thunder and Raptors seemingly taking a bigger-picture approach with respect to the development for the future in a few respects, Sunday night could be a fun one with no shortage of high energy and effort.
As of 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 18
• OG Anunoby (left calf soreness) - Out
• Jalen Harris (right hip pointer) - Out
• Kyle Lowry (rest) - Out
• Pascal Siakam (left shoulder inflammation) - Out
• Fred VanVleet (left hip flexor strain recovery) - Out
• Gabriel Deck (not with team) - Out
• Luguentz Dort (right hip strain) - Questionable
• Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (plantar fasciitis) - Out
• Josh Hall (bilateral knee soreness) - Out
• Mike Muscala (sprained right ankle) - Out
• Aleksej Pokusevski (right arm soreness) - Probable
Raptors vs. Thunder: Betting odds, spread, over/under
Spread: Raptors -10.5 (-110), Thunder +10.5 (-110)
Raptors Money line: -700
Thunder Money line: +500
Over/under: 219.5 (-110)
*Odds courtesy of William Hill Sports Book
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