The Toronto Raptors head out on a three-game road trip, hoping to return to Canada with the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers, meanwhile, will try to defend their home floor and even the season series at two games apiece. Bovada has made the home 76ers a 3.5-point favorite for tonight’s game.
Kawhi Leonard and the crew hit the road just two games off the Milwaukee Bucks’ lead atop the conference. Toronto (38-16) hasn’t met up with Philadelphia since the holiday season. In that matchup, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and JJ Redick went off, combining for 75 points. Philly would go on to win, 126-101. Why was it such a one-sided contest? It’s quite simple: Leonard was not in the lineup that night. The Raptors were forced into a shootout, but couldn’t get enough depth-scoring behind Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam that night. In the season’s previous two matchups, Philadelphia did not figure out how to contain Leonard offensively. The Toronto all-star scored a combined 67 points in those meetings, both wins. Lowry is listed as questionable tonight, but is expected to suit up. Toronto should undoubtedly give Philly a tougher matchup than their December contest.
The Sixers are more than alive for a shot at Eastern Conference supremacy, with a 34-19 record. They sit 5.5 games back of the Bucks. It was a whirlwind last week or so for Philly. The team headed out west, only to beat the Nuggets, Lakers and Warriors. Their win over Golden State seemed to take a lot out of them, though. They followed up their best win of the season with a letdown loss to the Sacramento Kings. The bad news continues for Philly, as Wilson Chandler will sit out with a quad issue tonight. As stated earlier, Philadelphia has to shut down Leonard this evening. They have shown they can beat Toronto without him in the lineup, as expected, but they have yet to even come within 11 points of the Raptors with Kawhi playing. If Philly plays like the team that upset the Warriors, they should be able to win at home.
The over/under expected point total is a tricky play tonight (232 points). In the three previous meetings, the teams have come in under that total twice. But, the first meeting resulted in 241 total points, well above tonight’s line. The under is actually favored in the contest (-115), but this is no safe bet. Instead of taking the game under, consider jumping on the first half over of 118.5 points (-110). Philly and Toronto have surpassed that total in two of the three games this season. Plus, Philly’s offense has been on a tear, scoring more than 110 points in eight of their past nine contests. The only one that resulted in less than 110 points was Saturday’s 115-108 loss to the Kings. Expect both teams to come out firing on all cylinders before making defensive adjustments at halftime.