Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors (-5, 201.5)
While the Toronto Raptors continue to plan for the future by dumping cash from their salary cap, they’re actually making Raps bettors a bundle lately covering three straight and five of their last six.
Their latest victory was easily the most impressive as they downed the Boston Celtics 102-101 on a pair of late free throws from Amir Johnson, while Andrea Bargnani led the club with 29 points.
What made the win even more surprising was the fact that the Raps were playing shorthanded after sending Jarrett Jack, David Andersen and guard Marcus Banks to the Hornets on Saturday for guard Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic.
"When I got fouled I knew already I was going to make the free throws because I was hitting them all game," Johnson told reporters. "My (confidence level) was definitely up."
That’s exactly what Toronto coach Jay Triano is looking for with his young Raptors. Toronto may be heading for yet another losing season, but they’ll play hard looking for jobs.
We like them to keep the winning streak going against a Philadelphia club that’ll be playing the second half of a back-to-back.
San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves (+8, 213.5)
Sometimes a talented team just needs some time to get used to one another. The San Antonio Spurs are proving to be a perfect example of that.
Last year the club was inconsistent as they integrated Richard Jefferson, Antonio McDyess and DeJuan Blair into the lineup. This year is a completely different story as the Spurs have jumped out of the gate with a 12-1 record straight up while going 9-3-1 against the spread.
San Antonio picked up its 11th straight win in a back-and-forth battle against the Orlando Magic 106-97 as a 3.5-point favorite. A lot of things are going right for the Spurs including their outside shooting. They hit 12 of their 19 trey attempts against the Magic and are now shooting better than 44 percent from outside the arc on the season.
"Both teams, for a stretch there, it was like a three-point contest and no one was going to give in,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters after the game. “That was pretty incredible. It was a heck of an NBA game."
Look for the Spurs to continue their winning ways against the lowly Timberwolves. Minnesota just doesn’t have the defense to hold San Antonio in check.