Thunder Redux: Try Fading Raptors Again With Lowry Sidelined

Friday, March 22, 2019 1:53 AM UTC

Friday, Mar. 22, 2019 1:53 AM UTC

Kyle Lowry will not play for the Toronto Raptors this Friday when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder. Maybe OKC will be the right NBA pick this time.

<p style="text-align:right"><em>Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Mar. 20: 20-18-1 ATS, 0-4 ML (minus-9.35 units), 30-14 Totals</em></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Oklahoma City (42-30 SU, 36-36 ATS) vs Toronto (51-21 SU, 32-40 ATS)</strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA-TV</strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Free NBA Pick: <a href="" target="_blank">Thunder ATS</a></strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Best Line Offered: <a href=";book=Heritage" target="_blank">Heritage</a></strong></p><p style="text-align:center">[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3569006, "sportsbooksIds":[169,93,19,180,139], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>I hate it when a contingency plan doesn’t come together. We tried to <a href="" target="_blank">cover all the angles</a> regarding Kyle Lowry’s uncertain status for Wednesday's game between the Toronto Raptors and the Oklahoma City Thunder; Lowry didn’t play, so we recommended the Thunder for your <a href="" target="_blank">NBA picks</a> – and they ended up losing 123-114 in overtime as 5-point home faves. <em>Harrumph.</em><br /><br />And least we don’t have to worry about Lowry’s status for Friday’s rematch in Toronto. He’s already been ruled out, which leaves us with only one thing left to do: Recommend the Thunder again. They’ve opened as 2.5-point road dogs on the <a href="" target="_blank">NBA odds board</a>, and even though they didn’t get the job done Wednesday, the same logic behind that pick still holds for Friday.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>VV Section</strong></h2><p>There is one difference, however – the Raptors are now 10-5 SU and 6-9 ATS in the games Lowry (plus-3.2 BPM) has missed this year. And we can only recommend a small wager this time, since the stat nerds at FiveThirtyEight have Toronto projected as 2-point favorites. Plus, the Raps did play much better than expected on Wednesday, aside from that late-game collapse that saw Oklahoma City force things into overtime.<br /><br />Having Fred VanVleet (plus-0.1 BPM) back in the lineup certainly helps their cause. He played 40 minutes against the Thunder and scored 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting with six assists and a pair of steals. VanVleet’s return to health should make things easier for Jeremy Lin (minus-4.8 BPM) as he slowly finds his comfort zone in Toronto’s backcourt. Patrick McCaw (plus-0.4 BPM) is always available for some extra defensive effort, as well.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>Deltoid Force</strong></h2><p>Oklahoma City might have won Wednesday's game had Paul George (plus-5.8 BPM) not fouled out near the end of regulation. He led the push that got this game into overtime, scoring nine straight fourth-quarter points for OKC to finish with 19 on the night. George’s shooting didn’t appear all that affected by his recent right shoulder injury, either – or by the continuing issues with his left shoulder.<br /><br />[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "\n&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Look at Kawhi’s smirk when posting up Paul George. 🤣🤣🤣 &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;March 21, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]<br /><br />The Thunder also shot 15-of-29 (51.7 percent) from the free-throw line on Wednesday, which is just weird. They might be one of the league’s worst teams from the stripe at 71.2 percent, or No. 28 overall, but that still leaves lots of room for regression to the mean. And again, the Thunder are pretty much at full strength for the rematch, while you never know when the Raptors might give Kawhi Leonard (plus-5.1 BPM) the day off. We’ll buy that for a loonie.</p>
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