The Phoenix Suns (5-2) host the Toronto Raptors (1-5) at PHX Arena Wednesday. Tip-off for the cross-conference affair will be at 9 p.m. ET. Below, we – USA TODAY data Raptors-Suns NBA betting odds and lines, with picks and predictions.
The Raps come into the desert off of back-to-back losses to the New Orleans Pelicans (120-116) and Boston Celtics (126-114) and a one-day rest. The Suns suffered a 112-107 loss at home against the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday following a four-game win streak.
Toronto won the head-to-head series 2-0 in 2019-20, winning games by 17 and 7 points.
Raptors at Suns: Betting odds, spread and lines
Money line: Raptors +135 (bet $100 to win $135) | Suns -160 (bet $160 to win $100)
Against the spread/ATS: Raptors +3.5 (-110) | Suns -3.5 (-110)
Over/Under: 218.5 (O: -115 | U: -105)
Raptors at Suns: Key Injuries
None affecting the betting lines.
Special NBA Betting Promotion!
Place a $1 bet on either team’s money line, WIN an additional $100 (in free bets) if either team hits a 3-pointer during the game today. Promotion available in CO, IN, NJ, TN and WV. IA and PA residents, don’t miss BetMGM‘s risk-free, first-bet offer! MI residents, BetMGM is coming to your state soon — register early for special promotion.
Place your legal, online sports bets at BetMGM! Terms and conditions apply. Bet now!
Raptors at Suns: Odds, betting lines, predictions and picks
Suns 115, Raptors 98
Money line (ML)
The SUNS (-160) offer plenty of value for a money line bet following Sunday’s narrow loss to a much better opponent than the one they’re facing Wednesday. Their four-game win streak included impressive road victories over the Utah Jazz (106-95) and Denver Nuggets (106-103). They beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-102 in their season-opener.
The Raptors appeared to get-right with a 100-83 win over the New York Knicks after losing their first three games of the season but back-to-back losses have sent them in the wrong direction once again. Gs Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet lead the team with 18.7 points per game and 21.8 PPG, respectively, but they’ll have their hands full on the defensive end with the Suns’ backcourt tandem of Chris Paul and Devin Booker. They’ll struggle on the offensive end as a result.
Suns C DeAndre Ayton is in store for a big game against the Raps’ frontcourt, and should easily top season averages of 13.7 PPG and 10.7 rebounds per game.
Against the spread (ATS)
The stronger play is to take the SUNS -3.5 (-110) to win by at least 4 points. Phoenix is 5-2 against the spread and wins by 7.3 PPG. Toronto is just 1-5 ATS and falls an average of 7.6 PPG below a cover.
Take the UNDER 218.5 (-105). The Suns rank fourth in defensive efficiency with just 102.4 points allowed per 100 opponent possessions while the Raps are tied for 28th in offensive efficiency.
Toronto is fifth in pace (possessions per game) but Phoenix operates at the slowest pace of all teams (98.2 possessions per game) and will be able to dictate the tempo.
Source:- USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire
Jim Benning followed in the footsteps of his mentor, Peter Chiarelli, and built the Edmonton Oilers – Vancouver Is Awesome
As Canucks fans are well aware, Peter Chiarelli and Jim Benning won the Stanley Cup together in 2011 with the Boston Bruins. Chiarelli was the general manager and Benning was his right-hand man, one that the rest of the NHL saw as having paid his dues to become a general manager himself.
Sure enough, when the Vancouver Canucks needed a new general manager after firing Mike Gillis in 2014, they turned to Benning, whose experience as a scout and running drafts on his resume was hoped to be an antidote to the team’s lack of success at the draft.
A year later, after the Bruins missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years, Chiarelli was out of Boston too, but didn’t need to wait long to find a new job. The Edmonton Oilers snapped him up to not only be their new general manager, but also their President of Hockey Operations.
Surely the experienced GM with a Stanley Cup ring could take a core that featured Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Leon Draisaitl back to the playoffs. And oh yeah, he had the first overall pick in the 2015 draft and added Connor McDavid. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything. Every damn thing.
Disastrous moves and false hope
Some of Chiarelli’s biggest moves backfired significantly. He traded Taylor Hall one-for-one for Adam Larsson in hopes of finding a number one defenceman. Hall went on to win a Hart Trophy with the New Jersey Devils, while Larsson has had a marginal impact on the Oilers blue line.
Another attempt to find a young defenceman was nearly as bad. Chiarelli traded his first and second round picks for Griffin Reinhart, who played a grand total of 30 games for the Oilers. That first-round pick turned into Mathew Barzal, the Islanders’ franchise forward.
Those are just two of Chiarelli’s disastrous moves, but two years into his tenure as Oilers GM, things weren’t looking that bad. The Oilers finished second in the Pacific Division, making the playoffs for the first time in eleven years. They made it to the second round and were a game away from the Western Conference Final, losing in Game 7.
Is this starting to sound familiar?
The Oilers believed they were a team on the rise, poised to become a powerhouse in short order. Instead, the next season they crashed and burned, not even coming close to the playoffs.
Sound familiar yet?
There are a few reasons why the Oilers collapsed after finally getting back to the playoffs. They moved on from players that had made them successful, like Jordan Eberle and Andrej Sekera. They didn’t recognize how an excellent season from goaltender Cam Talbot had masked some of their problems. And they had some big contracts on the books that made it difficult to maneuver around the salary cap to solve some of their problems.
Yeah, that sounds familiar all right.
Bad contracts and uncomfortable parallels
The Canucks are starting to look an awful lot like the 2017-18 Oilers, when they failed to follow up a strong playoff performance and missed the postseason entirely. It seems like Benning is once again following in the footsteps of his mentor, Chiarelli.
While Chiarelli had a head start with the young talent available to him when he joined the Oilers, Benning eventually caught up when several awful seasons gave him a few top 10 picks. Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes may not be McDavid and Draisaitl, but there’s certainly a parallel to be drawn.
Chiarelli failed to build quality depth around his young stars and particularly struggled to build a capable defence corps, which has similarly been a struggle for Benning. One of the major issues, of course, is the lack of cap flexibility caused by some ugly contracts.
In 2016, Chiarelli signed Milan Lucic to a dreadful seven-year contract worth $6 million per year. Shortly after, Benning followed suit, signing Loui Eriksson to a six-year deal worth $6 million per year. That’s not the only bad contract signed by the two GMs, but those are certainly the signature deals that have defined their tenure.
“When I look at the Canucks and the Oilers, one of the things that strikes me as similar and, if you’re a Canucks fan, you hope I’m wrong about this, but they have a lot of bad contracts baked into the mix that are going to get worse as years go by,” said Jonathan Willis when I talked to him about what happened to the Oilers.
“When I look at Vancouver, I see Antoine Roussel, I see Jay Beagle, I see Loui Eriksson and Brandon Sutter,” he added. “Edmonton didn’t have the ability to solve problems when it ran into them because they didn’t have any discretionary money, because so much money was tied up in bad contracts. I look at Vancouver and I wonder if they’re not looking at potentially having the same outcome.”
Like the Oilers, the Canucks lost some players in the offseason that were key to making the playoffs. Their goaltending advantage disappeared, albeit for different reasons — the Oilers simply overplayed Talbot, who wasn’t able to match his previous performance, while the Canucks saw Jacob Markstrom walk in free agency.
Chiarelli couldn’t find enough quality wingers to play with his stars; Benning let Tyler Toffoli walk in free agency.
There’s one error Benning didn’t copy from Chiarelli, but from the Oilers previous GM, Craig MacTavish, who signed expensive bottom-six veterans like Benoit Pouliot and Andrew Ference. While Chiarelli did acquire some expensive bottom-six forwards, like Mark Letestu and Lauri Korpikoski, they weren’t as expensive as Roussel or Beagle.
While the parallels are not perfect, it’s hard to ignore the end result. Benning’s Canucks have landed in the same spot as Chiarelli’s Oilers did a few years ago — wasting the final year of their franchise forward’s entry-level contract.
Raptors to lean on Lowry’s leadership with Nurse sidelined – Sportsnet.ca
Rules ruin everything.
When the news broke early Friday afternoon that six members of the Toronto Raptors coaching staff — head coach Nick Nurse and just about all of his staff — were being held out from Friday’s night’s game against the Houston Rockets due to health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 testing, the first thing that leapt to mind was: Who was going to coach this team in their game Friday night against the Houston Rockets?
Natural reaction, right? Well maybe the very first thought should have been: Let’s hope all involved remain sound and healthy and the exposure throughout the staff and the team can be easily contained.
But that aside, it was back to who is going to coach, and please, please, please let it be Kyle Lowry.
What could be more perfect? The Raptors franchise player has largely shed the reputation that followed him early in his career that he was to coaches what sun is to soft ice cream — a bright light that could make things messy.
But as he matured the reason he was a challenge to coach remained. Lowry has been a high IQ player since he stepped into the NBA, and if he thought he knew better it was hard to contain himself, and he thought he knew better a lot.
It’s not all that unusual. There aren’t too many shrinking violets playing point guard in the most competitive basketball league in the world.
It’s just that early in his career Lowry had a hard time sharing his views diplomatically.
“When I was younger, I knew what I knew, but the emotional side would kind of get in the way and people wouldn’t listen to me,” was how Lowry explained it to me once.
And imagine how Lowry took that?
Those issues are in the past now. Part of being a franchise player is having the ear of the head coach and Nurse and Lowry relate more like partners or co-workers rather than boss and subordinate. They are two smart basketball minds that work — mostly — as one.
But imagine Lowry actually coaching? Drawing up plays in timeouts? Adjusting to match-ups on the fly? Refusing to sub himself out even with body parts showing through his skin? Sitting guys for not taking charges?
That seemed to almost be on the horizon given the Raptors’ sudden lack of options.
But alas, rules.
According to Raptors general manager Bobby Webster it is a technicality within the league’s collective bargaining agreement that would have prevented Lowry from becoming the NBA’s first player-coach since Dave Cowens did it for the Boston Celtics for part of the 1978-79 season.
“I don’t know if we have the budget to add that to his resume. I think there was probably some additional compensation,” joked Webster.
But seriously. It’s against the rules.
“You can’t really pay a player to do anything outside of his contract,” said Webster.
And how much does that suck, at least in this case?
Plan B for the Raptors turned out to be a pretty good one. Raptors assistant coach Sergio Scariolo has three European titles, two Olympic medals and a World Championship on his resume in his role as the head coach for the Spanish national team. This is his third year as an assistant to Nurse with the Raptors.
Luckily for the Raptors — as it turns out — Scariolo had been in quarantine in Tampa for the past week after returning from Poland where he coached Spain in FIBA qualifying. He was conveniently due to finish quarantine Friday morning and thus wasn’t included in the contact tracing that had eliminated the rest of the coaching staff after one of the coaches did test positive for COVID-19, according to sources.
“I just joked with him that the last team he coached he was out in Poland and I said you should be ready for this,” said Nurse. “But you guys know his resume. I don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of games he’s been a head coach, but it’s unique and he acknowledged that much as far as the NBA game and, obviously, under the circumstances. So look forward to it and I think it’ll be a new challenge for him, but I think everybody’s ready for it.”
Were it not Scariolo — and not Lowry — another option might have been to bring Raptors 905 head Patrick Mutombo over from the G-League bubble in Orlando. As it was, joining Scariolo as front-of-the-bench assistants were Mark Tyndale, Jamaal Magloire and Jim Saan. Nurse and the rest of the staff are able to participate in pre-game preparation but can’t communicate to the staff on the bench during the game.
Which brings us back to Lowry.
“Listen, we make jokes about it, but he does so much out on the court and he takes on a little bit bigger role,” said Webster. “I’ve spoken to him a number of times, spoke to him this morning, put in his head, he knew this was a possibility. Obviously with Fred [VanVleet], as well. Those guys are in many ways the de facto coaches out there, so just trying to get it in their head as early as possible so they could think about it.”
The Raptors are a deep team on the floor and off, and they had options and an identity.
“It’s Nick Nurse’s team. They run Nick Nurse’s stuff. He’s a great coach. I respect the heck out of him,” said Rockets head coach Stephen Silas. “Not having him over on the side doesn’t necessarily make me feel any better because it’s his team that’s coached. It’s the players that they have that make them really good.
“It’s a really tough situation they have for him and his coaching staff. But walking from the bus to the locker room, they have a bunch of other coaches. If that happened to me we’d be down to our trainer… or somebody would be coaching. For them, they have a bunch more guys.”
There was some consideration given to cancelling the game — a decision that rests with the NBA — said Webster, but once most of the players were cleared through two rounds of testing this morning it was judged reasonable to move ahead.
The exception was Raptors forward Pascal Siakam who — according to sources — had an inconclusive rapid test and required a more invasive PCR test as a follow-up with the result not expected to be available until after the game. If he clears that test he would presumably be available when the Raptors host the Chicago Bulls at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sunday.
And so against Houston the band played on with their leader, Lowry, in his normal role as maestro on the floor. No harm in that, but those pesky league rules got in the way of Lowry coaching himself for at least one night and the possibility of the sharp-minded Raptors guard finally playing for someone who saw things exactly his way.
Pascal Siakam: Toronto Raptors forward to miss time due to health and safety protocols – NBA CA
The announcement of Siakam’s upcoming absence came on the heels of the team’s statement that head coach Nick Nurse and five other members of the Raptors’ coaching staff would also miss time for the same reason.
Toronto is one of the few teams this season that have yet to have any games postponed due to coronavirus health and safety protocols. They currently have four games remaining in the first half of the season before the upcoming All-Star break that begins on March 5.
The rest of their first-half schedule is as follows.
- Friday, Feb. 26, vs. Houston Rockets, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Sunday, Feb. 28, vs. Chicago Bulls, 7:00 p.m. ET
- Tuesday, Mar. 2, vs. Detroit Pistons, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Thursday, Mar. 4 at Boston Celtics, 7:00 p.m. ET
The first of those four games will be tonight (Friday) against the Houston Rockets, where the Raptors will be without Siakam, Nurse and the five other members of the coaching staff. Assistant coach Sergio Scariolo will assume head coaching duties in Nurse’s absence, according to the team.
Following a slow start the season, Siakam was getting back into All-Star form prior to this hurdle, averaging 20.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. The Raptors currently stand in at 16-17, one game below .500 in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
NBA.com will continue to provide updates on this developing situation.
The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.
Economists predict slight rebound and moderate growth for B.C. economy in 2021 – North Shore News
Global National: Feb. 26, 2021 | Health Canada approves Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine – Global News
'Good to go': Canadian pharmacies ready for next phase of vaccine rollout – CTV News
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
Real eState13 hours ago
B.C. real estate industry braces for postpandemic immigration boom – The Globe and Mail
Health22 hours ago
Canada sees good news about COVID-19 inoculations as doses arrive more quickly
Economy22 hours ago
Canada’s finance ministry calls report of CPPIB CEO’s overseas trip for COVID shot ‘very troubling’
Business23 hours ago
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce profit beats estimates on capital market strength
Health2 hours ago
Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot, 500,000 doses to arrive next week
Real eState9 hours ago
B.C. real estate industry braces for postpandemic immigration boom – The Globe and Mail
Health15 hours ago
CPPIB CEO Mark Machin steps down after getting COVID-19 vaccine in UAE – Global News
Real eState24 hours ago
RBC Adds Two “Severe” Risk Scenarios, Including Canadian Real Estate