);
Toronto Raptors

Wednesday Game Previews: Raptors and 76ers clash in season series finale; Blazers host the Heat

Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard
(Getty Images)

Toronto Raptors (38-16) vs Philadelphia 76ers (34-19)

Where to Watch

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 6

Time: 6:30 AM IST

TV: Sony ESPN

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Game Preview

The Philadelphia 76ers would be disappointed that they dropped the last game of their recently completed road trip in Sacramento but prior to that, they did upset the two-time defending champions at the Oracle Arena. So, the team would be just about satisfied with the 2-2 record for their recent four-game road trip.

After 53 games, the 76ers joined the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and the Toronto Raptors as the only teams to feature in the top 10 in both - offensive (111.3) and defensive ratings (108.0).

Currently, in a three-way tie with the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics for the third seed in the East, the 76ers are in the middle of a monster stretch of their schedule which could go on to define their season. It is vital for the 76ers to win this game to stay ahead in this three-team race and even up the season series with the Raptors.

So far, they have already played the Indiana Pacers, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs going 5-3, and are yet to play the Lakers once again, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets.

Coming to the Toronto Raptors, it seems to be an inconsistent time for the team.

They had a spectacular January up until their road trip began in Indiana last week.

Prior to the clash with the Pacers, the Raptors had won nine of their 11 games and were leading the East with a 36-13 reocrd. Since then, they have lost three of five games and have now slipped to trailing the Milwaukee Bucks by 2 games for the East's top-seed.

With Leonard yet to play back-to-backs this season and given Kyle Lowry's back issues, the Raptors haven't consistently played multiple games with their All-Star duo in the line-up.

In this season series finale, will the Raptors clinch it 3-1 or will the 76ers tie it up?

Game Notes

  • The Philadelphia 76ers have won 21 of their 26 games at the Wells Fargo Arena, which is among the top 5 home records in the league.
  • The Toronto Raptors have a road record of 16-11 and this is the first of a short 3-game East road trip.
  • The 76ers will be without Zhaire Smith (Foot), Markelle Fultz (Shoulder), Wilson Chandler (Quadriceps), and Justin Patton (Foot). Their starting shooting guard JJ Redick (Rest) is reportedly a game-time decision.
  • On the other hand, the Raptors have three players that are said to be game-time decisions - Kyle Lowry (Back), Jonas Valanciunas (Thumb), and Malachi Richardson (Knee).

Last Time They Played

Date: Dec. 23, 2018

Score: Raptors 101-126 76ers

Raptors: Pascal Siakam - 26 points, and 6 rebounds, on 11-of-21 shooting.

76ers: Ben Simmons - 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists on 11-of-13 shooting.

Box Score


Miami Heat (24-27) vs Portland Trail Blazers (32-20)

Where to Watch

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 6

Time: 9:00 AM IST

TV: Sony ESPN

Location: Moda Center, Portland, OR

Game Preview

The new year has treated the Portland Trail Blazers very well.

In 2019, the Blazers have gone 11-4 with an offensive rating of 116.9 (3rd-best) and a defensive rating of 108.1 (8th-best).

The team's backcourt fuels their offense and from the season so far, there's a reason to be optimistic about the campaign ahead. Damian Lillard has been quietly rankings among the league's best offensive stars this season and has deserved his All-Star selection but the team's other two stars (CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic) are struggling to be consistent with their production.

CJ McCollum did record his first career triple-double (28-10-10) in the team's recent win against the Atlanta Hawks but he's shooting a career-low 35.9% on 3-point shooting (one of his biggest strengths) and his assists average of 2.7 is lowest in four years. Imagine how well Portland would start playing if he finds his shooting stroke.

In the middle of four-game home-stand, the Blazers are taking the floor for the first time since last Thursday.

With the league's seventh-best defense, the Miami Heat have restricted their opponents to under 100 points in 15 of their 24 wins

The Heat are missing their point guard Goran Dragic but they did welcome Dion Waiters back to the line-up earlier in the month. A large part of their season has been highlighted by it being the final year for 3-time NBA Champion Dwyane Wade.

The jersey swapping has now become a tradition after every Heat game. Here's the more recent noteworthy one:

Currently holding a 1.5 game lead for the eighth seed in the East, Miami needs to snap their current 3-game losing streak and begin this long 6-game road trip with a win. Can they do it?

Game Notes

  • The Blazers have a home record of 22-7 and have currently won their last eight games at the Moda Center.
  • The Heat, meanwhile, have a road record of 13-11, one of only four teams to have a positive away record.
  • Portland has a couple of players that are game-time decisions for this game - Rodney Hood (Not Injury Related) and Jusuf Nurkic (Knee).
  • On the other hand, Miami will be without Goran Dragic (Knee) and Derrick Jones Jr. (Knee) while Yante Maten is a game-time decision.

Last Time They Played

Date: Oct. 28, 2018

Score: Blazers 111-120 Heat

Blazers: Damian Lillard - 42 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists on 15-of-28 shooting.

Heat: Goran Dragic - 28 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds on 10-of-19 shooting.

Box Score

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