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Toronot Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets

Toronto Raptors (24-13) vs. Charlotte Hornets (15-24)

NBA: Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 (Spectrum Center)

Spread: Toronto Raptors (-2.5) vs. Charlotte Hornets (+2.5) O/U: 207.5

Free NBA Expert Pick: Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte guard Terry Rozier is in a groove offensively, and the Hornets are starting to see signs of leadership from the player who joined the team from the Boston Celtics in the offseason.

They need just about everything that Rozier can offer to help them become more consistent and create some winning ways.

Despite Rozier’s uptick in offense, the Hornets have struggled for much of the past month. They’ll try to find remedies for that with Wednesday night’s home game against the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors had won two of three games before Tuesday night’s 101-99 loss to the visiting Portland Trail Blazers. Toronto failed to protect a nine-point, fourth-quarter lead.

Team scoring leader Pascal Siakam remains out with a groin injury. The Raptors were also without Fred VanVleet (hamstring), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Norman Powell (shoulder) on Tuesday. This has become a particularly challenging time for the Raptors.

For Charlotte, Rozier has emerged as part of a productive backcourt combination with Devonte’ Graham. With the two often together on the court, it means Rozier moves to the off-guard spot.

Rozier has been the leading scorer in three consecutive games, putting up 30, 29 and 28 points. He has led Charlotte in scoring in six of the past nine games.

Also Rozier and Graham, a second-year pro, the Hornets have a backcourt where leadership can grow. Graham is averaging 19.1 points and 7.8 assists after he posted averages of 4.7 points and 2.6 assists in 46 games as a rookie.

Still, Charlotte has lost seven of its past nine games, including dropping a 115-104 decision to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

For Toronto, guard Matt Thomas was back in the lineup Tuesday after a finger injury. Nurse said there’s opportunity for Thomas to make an immediate impact, but he knows Thomas’ court time must be monitored.

The lack of practice time had been a detriment, Nurse said.

Now the game in Charlotte comes as a back-to-back, the second time since Christmas that the Raptors have had to play on consecutive days.

Toronto won 132-96 against visiting Charlotte on Nov. 18.

Cover The Spread 365 Trends:

Toronto Raptors

Raptors are 8-4 ATS in their last 12 games.

Raptors are 19-15-1 ATS this season.

The under is 18-16-1 in Raptors games this year.

Charlotte Hornets

Hornets are 18-20-1 ATS this season.

Hornets are 4-6 ATS in their last 10.

The over is 21-18 in Hornets games this season.

Free Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets NBA Prediction

Toronto Raptors lost to Portland Trail Blazers last night on a game winning jumper by Carmelo Anthony. Toronto has had an injury list that has stayed consistent with: Marc Gasol, Norman Powell, and Pascal Siakam.  However, VanVleet has now been added to the list.  Charlotte has won 2 of their last 9 games.  The Raptors have a winning road record, having gone 10-7 thus far.  The Hornets are 7-12 at home this season.  The Hornets have one of the worse scoring offense’s, ranking 28th at 104 per game.  The Raptors will make it difficult on the Hornets, as Toronto has the 4th best scoring defense.

Toronto -2.5