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The Toronto Raptors and the Oklahoma City Thunder have both already clinched playoff spots and are both relatively secure in their spots in their respective conferences but that doesn’t mean that either team has started slowing down. Both teams will try to continue a sprint to the finish when the Raptors host the Thunder on Monday.
Toronto sits in second place in the Eastern Conference, six games clear of third-place Atlanta and 2 1/2 behind the Cleveland Cavaliers with 10 games left in the regular season. The Raptors tied the franchise record – set last season – with their 49th win on Saturday, crushing the New Orleans Pelicans 115-91 to bounce back from a pair of tough losses. Oklahoma City sits comfortably in the No. 3 slot in the West and ran its winning streak to seven straight with a 111-92 destruction of the second-place San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. The Thunder are averaging 117 points during the winning streak and got a combined 60 points from stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on Saturday.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Oklahoma, Sportsnet One (Toronto)
LINE HISTORY: The spread for this Monday night matchup opened with the Raptors getting two points from most books. The betting public immediately hit the Thunder and they were bumped up to three-point favorites. The total began at 211 and has been steady since release.
Thunder – No injuries to report.
Raptors – SF T. Ross (Questionable Monday, thumb).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Thunder (-9.9) – Raptors (-7.7) + home court (-3) = Raptors -0.8
DANCE TEAM WAR:
ABOUT THE THUNDER (51-22, 32-40-1 ATS, 33-40 O/U): Oklahoma City did not face a full-strength San Antonio team on Saturday but made the most of its time against the Spurs’ backups and avoided a letdown by leaning on Durant, who went for 31 points on 13-of-20 shooting. “There’s a balance for him because he’s so unselfish,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan told reporters of Durant. “He’s such an efficient player. He’s as good as anybody in the word from that 15- to 18-foot range, whether he’s facing up or with his back to the basket. He’s just an incredible scorer from there.” Durant’s efficiency has been on display of late as he is shooting 58.1 percent from the field in the last five games.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (49-23, 39-33 ATS, 37-34-1 O/U): Toronto may have squandered its best chances to hang with the Cavaliers in the fight for the No. 1 spot with losses in Boston and Houston to begin the road trip but started looking like a contender again in Saturday’s drubbing of the Pelicans. The Raptors shot 53.4 percent from the field in the win while All-Star DeMar DeRozan led the way with a 9-of-11 effort. DeRozan managed to keep his cool in the contest after drawing a pair of technical fouls and getting ejected with three minutes remaining in the 112-109 loss to the Rockets on Friday.
* Thunder are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Raptors are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
* Under is 8-1 in the last 9 meetings.
* Over is 9-1-1 in Raptors last 11 vs. Western Conference.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The early Sunday night consensus action was split 50/50 on both the side and the total.