Denver Nuggets vs. Toronto Raptors - 12/28/14 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Toronto Raptors (23-7) at Denver Nuggets (13-17)
NBA Basketball: Sunday, December 28, 2014 at 9:00 pm (Pepsi Center)
The Line: Denver Nuggets +2.5 -- Over/Under: 212.5 See the Latest Odds
The Toronto Raptors look to continue their hot start as they visit the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night.
The Toronto Raptors picked up a road win against the Clippers on Saturday night, 110-98. The win moved the Raptors to 23-7, 10-3 in the month of December, and 9-4 on the road. The Raptors are continuing to perform despite the absence of DeMar DeRozan in the lineup, as Kyle Lowry is taking it upon himself to elevate his game scoring. Lowry is averaging 23.2 points and 7.6 assists over his last five games, exceeding his scoring average for the year. Another big contributor in last night’s win was center Jonas Valanciunas, who scored 22 points and hauled in 11 rebounds to continue a strong stretch. The Toronto bench is averaging 39.6 points per game as well as players like Lou Williams, Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson offer quality relief and depth. The Raptors may have some issues on defense in this contest though, given the difficulty of running in the altitude in a back-to-back setting.
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The Denver Nuggets are 13-17 on the year and still trying to develop an identity. The Nuggets have managed to protect their home court in the early going though, with a mark of 9-6 at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets have won their last three home games facing the Timberwolves, Pacers and Clippers, so they’ve at least proven they can play against strong competition even if the consistency is miles away for this team. Ty Lawson and Aaron Afflalo are both healthy in the backcourt which really fuels the team at present; Lawson is averaging 15.8 points and 10.4 assists per game and Afflalo is adding 14.6 points but in the midst of a stretch shooting just 29.7% over the last five games logging double digits in shot attempts in all five games. Kenneth Faried is coming off a 26 point, 25 rebound effort against Minnesota, so look out for the manimal to potentially be in the zone for this contest. The Nuggets will need all the contributions they can get on offense with a defense that ranks 27th allowing 103.9 points per game.
The Raptors are clearly the better team but I like the way this spot shapes up for the host a little better. Look for Denver to utilize their depth to outlast Toronto in what could easily be a high-scoring battle.