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GAMBLING AGAINST GREATNESS: RAPTORS ATTEMPT TO BOUNCE BACK WHILE MURRAY AND MITCHELL LOOK TO ADVANCE

@TheWillBaldwin

Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors

Line: Toronto -1.5

Pick: Raptors -1.5

Game one was not ideal for the Toronto Raptors. If you had any reservations of the team like the half-court offence, Marc Gasol’s mobility, how Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry would struggle with Boston’s length or something else, it was all exposed.

Here’s the thing though, if you were to define this team on one immeasurable trait, it would be their uncanny ability to always bounce back.

You know the things they’ve gone through.

Kawhi’s departure, their incredible inability to stay healthy and yet, here they are in the second round of the playoffs as the number two seed. Boston may have the best player, they may even have more top end talent but what they don’t have is a team and coach defined on their unique ability to find a way to adjust.

Guess what, this gambling pick isn’t analytical and maybe that’s why it could seem risky. I’m not worried though. I’m betting on a team that was built for this exact moment.

Game one was a disaster. So what?

The Toronto Raptors are going to win tonight and that’s that.

Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets

Line: EVEN

Pick: Jazz

For me, this pick comes down to two guys: Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray. The reason for this is because these teams are so close, I think it comes down to which one of these guys is more ready for this moment.

Murray has had the series of his career (or maybe anyone’s career) and has the Nuggets playing in a game seven despite a previous 3-1 deficit. Mitchell on the other hand is the incumbent of the two young guards. He was the all-star this year, he’s the one already in his third playoffs as the first option for his team.

The guy I am rolling with tonight is Donovan Mitchell. As much as I love my Canadian Murray, Mitchell’s offence in this series hasn’t been all that different than the regular season.

He’s still a menace on the pick and roll with Gobert mainly and he’s still an outstanding off ball mover. For him, the two biggest differences are Bogdanovic isn’t there to take up some of his usage and, more of his shots, particularly from deep, are going in.

Murray on the other hand has gone from the Nuggets second option to their first in this series. It’s no longer unusual for him to wave off Jokic, call for a different screener or simply go one on one. That offence has been exceptionally great in this series, the question is, how sustainable is it?

It isn’t like Royce O’Neale is defending him poorly, Murray is just scoring at a historic rate.

If you pick Murray and the Nuggets, you’re essentially saying you think the Nuggets new look on offence is the future, Jamal has realized his potential and the return of Gary Harris gives them the Mitchell defender they need.

If you pick Mitchell and the Jazz it’s because you think his offence is more sustainable, the veterans on their team are more ready for this moment and, the first four games they clearly looked like the better team.

To me it comes down to I think the first four games weren’t a fluke and Utah is the better team and, that Mitchell is more of a safer bet. Here’s the thing, Murray could just go and drop 50 again and ruin this piece.

Isn’t gambling on basketball fun?

T

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