Raptors & Grizzlies: Two Teams Headed In Opposite Directions?

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The Toronto Raptors were widely expected to compete for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, but even a strong rookie campaign from Scottie Barnes hasn’t been enough to reverse their fortunes.

2019-20 marked the Raptors’ first losing and non-playoff season in seven years. Returning to Toronto for home games hasn’t been much of a factor, as the Raptors have dropped eight of 12 games at Scotiabank Arena.

Toronto’s 102-90 home win over the Washington Wizards moved them to 11-13 on the season. After Sunday’s action, the Raptors found themselves a game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the final Eastern Conference play-in berth.

The Raptors are an extreme long shot to win the 2022 NBA Championship in the Ontario Online Sports Betting Sites. Having started off slow, they have the seventh-lowest 2022 NBA Championship betting odds at +18000. 

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While Toronto has played below expectations, the Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the biggest surprise teams heading into the eighth week of 2021-22. Entering play on Dec. 6, the Memphis Grizzlies found themselves sitting fourth in the Western Conference with a 13-10 record. Through Sunday, Memphis was just one of four teams in the West with a winning record, along with the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and Utah Jazz.

The Raptors and Grizzlies split their season series, with the road team taking each meeting. Though Memphis boasts the better record by 2.5 games, the Raptors have quietly been the better team up to this point. And a deep dive into some numbers will show that Toronto is bound to endure positive regression, while the Grizzlies are due for a decline down the stretch.

Raptors Can Only Get Better From Here

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Through Sunday, the Raptors were averaging just 104.8 points per game, which placed them 23rd in the league. However, the team has remained ultra-competitive thanks to a stingy group that boasts the No. 7 scoring defense, allowing just 105.1 points per game. They’re also forcing 9.3 steals per game, which is the second-best mark in the league behind only Memphis and Golden State, who share the lead at 9.7 STL. These stats show that eventually, the already strong Raptor defense should only get better, especially with a healthier roster.