Still the CHAMPS
I haven't spoken on it here on Fullstack yet but I am a die-hard Raptors fan and we have been disrespected all because of the departure of Kawhi Leonard, we are the best defensive team in the league, have championship DNA, and are a problem for any team... I am able to my raptors fandom aside when making bets as they can't win every game...... The Toronto Raptors are comfortably in the 2nd seed in the eastern conference having already clinched the playoffs back in March. They are a perfect 2-0 in the bubble having one of the hardest schedules in the league, their last game was a hard-fought 107-103 win over the Heat on Monday. The Raptors are the best in the NBA at defending the three ( 33.6%) and hold opponents the least amount of points (106.3). The main argument "analysts" is that they don't have that one star who can go get them a bucket if they need it. In the bubble that has not mattered, here are Raptors leading scorers in each bubble game: Kyle Lowry had 33 points 5/9 from deep, Fred Vanvleet had 36 points on 7/12 shooting from three. Don't forget about the Raptor other All-Star Pascal Siakam who is an elite player on both sides of the floor. If the Playoffs started today the Raptors would either play Orlando or Brooklyn so I believe they will play this game hard and treat it as a playoff game.
Is there enough Magic?
The Orlando Magic are a team that has essentially taken the default position of a team that will be favorites to make the playoffs each year by way of the 7th or 8th seed but have not done enough to build for their future. The Magic are sitting in the 8th seed tied in games with the 7th seed Nets who also play today, we will see what happens with them tonight. The Magic have solid NBA role players in Evan Fournier and D.J. Augustin led by NBA All-Star Nikola Vucevic and high flyer Aaron Gordan. Orlando's bubble record is 2-1 having lost to a feisty Indiana team. The games they did win were against below .500 teams (Nets and Kings). The Magic over the last 5 games have been playing some good basketball shooting 41.2% from three, and are 2nd in the league in points scored (123.0). The Magic are still without young prospect Jonathan Isaac who unfortunately tore his ACL against the Kings on Sunday.
The Toronto Raptors have been rolling in the bubble so far and I see no sign of them stopping tonight. The Magic as a team have improved but they just don't have enough to beat the reigning champs.
Raptors ML (-330)