Toronto Raptors game previews between December 12 and December 18, including games against: Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite the Cavs slicing the Raps win streak at 6 games, it was a decent last week for the squad. A fiery win against the ‘Wolves in front of a TNT audience, followed by a scrappy, come from behind W in their first meeting with the Celtics were the two games that followed the loss to Cleveland.
Looking forward, the Raps will have 2 games at home (Milwaukee, Atlanta) and 2 games on the road (Philly, Orlando). This will be the first time playing Orlando, but they’ve been able to successfully take the first previous meeting with the other three. The Raptors have successfully nestled themselves into a secure 2nd spot in the east, and they’ll be looking to further protect it this week.
Monday, 12 December 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Home
The first meeting with Milwaukee was a tough one. They were able to walk with the victory on the road, but it could have easily gone either way. Whenever you’re facing a player that leads his team in points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocks and field goal percentage, he may just be your focus.
The Greek Freak put up a casual 29/11/6 on 12 of 17 shooting in their last meeting. On the fast break, he’s nearly impossible to stop, and once he gets a step on you, there’s practically no hope in preventing a basket.
That being said, this team obviously has more weapons than just Giannis. They’re long, scrappy, and well coached. But I believe that the Raptors at home will be too much to handle. It won’t necessarily be a high scoring game, or an easy one, but it’s one that I believe the Raptors will handle.
Toronto 102 - 94 Milwaukee
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
Following the home game on Monday, the Raptors will get a day off, hop on a plane and make the quick trip the Wells Fargo Center in Philly. In their last meeting, the Raptors took it by a score of 122-95. They were able to keep Philly at bay quite easily, but there was a key variable missing from the 76ers that night; Joel Embiid. It’s tough to estimate the impact that his presence will provide, but you know that he will surely impact the game with his size alone.
I don’t believe that this game is going to be close, and it definitely shouldn’t be. That being said, you can’t sleep on this Philadelphia team, like you could in prior years past. They still lack depth, but they’re starting to develop the weapons necessary to build a winning team.
On a side note, Robert Covington put up a cool 20 points on 7-11 shooting last time they met, so look for the Raptors to have an extra eye on him throughout the game.
Toronto 117 - 101 Philadelphia
Friday, 16 December 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Home
The Hawks will be returning to the Air Canada Centre for an attempt to redeem themselves from last time. If you haven’t heard, the Raptors set their franchise record for margin of victory last time these two teams met. Which was about two weeks ago, at the same arena.
Obviously, this is going to be quite the statement game for the Hawks. If they succumb to another blowout at the ACC, it may speak volumes about this matchup. Understandably, I don’t think that this game is going to have a similar margin of victory. I do believe, however, that the Raptors should be able to take this game.
The Hawks have climbed out of their slump, they’ve won their last two games, and they’ve gotten back to playing .500 ball. Personally, I do believe that this is a bad matchup for them. They lack the bench depth to keep up with the Raps’ second unit, and that’s where we’ll take advantage.
In conclusion, this is still a good Hawks team. They’ve had some tough injuries to deal with, and they hit a pretty hard slump to begin with. But they’re going to continue to win games and grab a spot in the Eastern playoffs, but matchup-wise, this isn’t one that they’re going to get
Toronto 122 - 113 Atlanta
Sunday, 18 December 2016 at 06:00 PM ET Away
The Raptors will be getting a day off following the Friday night game with Atlanta, then they’ll fly down to Florida to take on the Magic in Orlando. This will be the two teams’ first meeting this season.
In my opinion, the Magic had a somewhat, confusing offseason. They re-tooled, slightly, swapping Oladipo for Ibaka, along with maxing out Biyombo, and bringing in Jeff Green. I say the word confusing, because I’m struggling to understand what management is trying to do here. Now they have four quality bigs - Vucevic, Ibaka, Biyombo and Gordon, but they lack depth at the wing and guard position, apart from Elfrid Payton, Fournier, Jeff Green, Hezonja and D.J Augustin. Even that core group will struggle to compete with most units in the NBA.
I don’t mean to rag on the Magic, I’m just not quite sure what direction that they are going for. On the positive side, I’m looking forward to seeing our boys go head-to-head with Biyombo. It should be a great sight to see, only being topped by Biyombo return to the ACC.
The Raptors should take this game, and I don’t actually think it’s going to be close. It’s not going to be a super high scoring affair, but the Raptors depth and experience should prove to be enough to topple this Magic squad.
Toronto 103 - 87 Magic