The Toronto Raptors go for a sixth straight win when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans in a Sunday night matchup. The opening tip for this contest is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
The Pelicans are coming off a home win against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday that snapped the team’s three-game losing streak. New Orleans improved to 14-25 with the win and is in fourth place in the Southwest Division standings, 1½ games behind the third-place San Antonio Spurs.
Toronto has won four straight at home, including a 122-108 win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. The Raptors are 19-17 and in third place in the Atlantic Division, sitting two games behind the second-place Philadelphia 76ers and two games ahead of the fourth-place Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.
The Pelicans were helped in their win over the Warriors by the absences of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green from the Golden State lineup. But they also had the plus of forward Brandon Ingram feeling better after dealing with a sore Achilles over the previous two games.
Ingram had 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting after going 8-of-36 over those previous two contests to lead New Orleans to the victory. Ingram is averaging 22.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists and needs to be at his best to lead the Pelicans while All-Star forward Zion Williamson continues to sit out with injury.
Center Jonas Valanciunas is also very important to the team’s success, as he leads the club with 11.9 rebounds per game while scoring 18.6 points per game. Valanciunas will certainly want to do well in Toronto, where he spent the first six-plus seasons of his NBA career.
Guard Devonte’ Graham will have the job of defending Toronto guard Fred VanVleet on one end and being the third scorer for the Pelicans on the other. Graham is averaging 14.1 points, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals in his first season with New Orleans.
VanVleet is emerging as one of the top guards in the Eastern Conference of late, ranking in the top 20 in the league in both scoring (21.7 points) and assists (6.8). VanVleet is coming off his first career triple-double, going for 37 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in the win over Utah.
“I was just trying to get the win,” VanVleet said after Friday’s victory. “I wasn’t really thinking about it. By the time I checked in in the fourth there, we were kind of in control, so I didn’t have much time to think about it.”
VanVleet isn’t the only dangerous scorer in the Raptors lineup, though. Forward Pascal Siakam is averaging 20.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists and has upped those averages to 22.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists over the last four games.
Toronto’s current five-game winning streak began when forward OG Anunoby made his return to the lineup on Dec. 31. Anunoby had only played in one game over the previous month and a half, but his presence has made the Raptors much more balanced on both ends of the floor. Anunoby is averaging 19.4 points and 5.2 rebounds and is a solid wing defender as well.
Raptors Keep Winning
The Pelicans are going to have their hands full in this one, as Toronto is playing very well on both ends of the floor right now. Having Anunoby back has boosted the team’s confidence, and that will continue as the Raptors roll to an easy win in this one.
When doing your NBA betting, take Toronto to win and cover at home.