When the Toronto Raptors acquired Kawhi Leonard for Demar DeRozan this offseason, there were a lot of raised eyebrows, especially with a team that was already one of the best in the Eastern Conference. It has worked, though. The Raptors have jumped out to a 17-4 record and have a 2-game lead in the Eastern Conference over the Milwaukee Bucks. They are currently on a 5-game winning streak, with their most recent victory being a 125-115 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday.
For the Grizzlies, they rank 4th in a loaded Western Conference with a 12-7 record. They currently find themselves on a 2-game skid with their most recent loss being against the New York Knicks (103-98) on Sunday. The Two will square off with one another Tuesday night when the Raptors travel to FedEx Forum to take on the Grizzlies with tipoff scheduled for 8:00 pm ET.
The Toronto Raptors come into this game as 6-point favorites, despite playing on the road. The over/under on points scored is set at 206.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side of the ball, the Toronto Raptors have certainly been the better team. When it comes to adjusted offensive rating (estimate of points scored per 100 possessions adjusted for strength of opponents defense), the Raptors rank 4th in the NBA with 114.42 points. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, come in at 27th with 106.33 points. On the defensive side, though, the Grizzlies come in as better in adjusted defensive rating. The Grizzlies rank 3rd, allowing 104.83 points, while the Raptors come in just a few spots later at 7th (107.31 points).
Raptors Looking For Sixth Win In A Row
The Raptors team is exceptionally deep, with Kawhi Leonard leading the way. Although he has missed six games this season, Leonard is averaging 24.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3 assists in the games that he has played. Along with Leonard, Kyle Lowry has played really well thus far this year, averaging 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game.
In addition to these two, other solid contributors include Serge Ibaka (16.7 points, 8 rebounds), Pascal Siakam (14.5 points, 6.7 rebounds), Jonas Valanciunas (13 points, 7.7 rebounds), Fred VanVleet (9.4 points, 4.5 assists), Danny Green (9.4 points, 3.7 rebounds) and OG Anunoby (9.1 points). Again, with 8 players averaging at or close to double-digit points, the Raptors can beat you in a lot of different ways.
Grizzlies Looking To End Skid
While the Grizzlies don’t have anyone that would classify as a true superstar, they do have a roster of very consistent players. Leading the way for the Grizzlies are guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol. For Conley, he is averaging 20.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 6.6 assists. For Gasol, he is averaging 18.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.
In addition to these two, other contributors this season have included Jaren Jackson Jr. (13.1 points, 4.6 rebounds), Garrett Temple (10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds), Shelvin Mack (9.8 points, 3.5 rebounds), and JaMychal Green (8.4 points, 6.9 rebounds).
Outcome Dependent on Leonard
The biggest variable in this game is the playing time of Kawhi Leonard. As previously mentioned, he has only played in 15 of the Raptors’ 21 games thus far this season. Basically, after missing most of the season last year with an injury, the Raptors are being very conscientious in how they use him this year. They don’t play him in the second game of back-to-backs and have found other opportunities to rest him as well. When he is on the court, though, he has been fantastic, recording double-doubles in 6 of his 15 games. Ultimately, if he plays in this one, I like the Raptors to not only win but to cover the 6-point spread. If he doesn’t play, I would go with the Grizzlies and the 6 points.