Both teams are struggling on defence and Dave Gray thinks we should trust the Portland Trail Blazers' offence against the Toronto Raptors in a Monday night NBA shootout...
"McCollum is playing some of the best basketball of his career and could well be solving the issue of who they can put next to Lillard to really move this team to where they want to be."
Toronto Raptors @ Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday, 03:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Arena
McCollum on fire
The Raptors still haven't found their form and tonight's visit to Portland is not making it any easier. The Trail Blazers' offence has been on fire lately. CJ McCollum has been excellent and leads the team in scoring despite playing alongside Damian Lillard. He is playing some of the best basketball of his career and could well be solving the issue of who they can put next to Lillard to really move this team to where they want to be.
As good as they have been on offence, they have been bad on defence. They are bottom six in points allowed and while Toronto have struggled, they have the players to take advantage of a poor defence.
VanVleet needs support
The Raptors have been so poor on offence. They sit fourth bottom in shooting percentage and, with the exception of Fred VanVleet, the team has struggled to find anything close to last season's form. He is averaging career highs in points, shooting percentage and rebounds since signing his new deal. They really need the likes of Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry to step up if they are going to turn around this poor start.
Last season their game was built around strong, aggressive defence and that is something they must get back to. Toronto will be killed tonight by Lillard and McCollum if they do not tighten up and become more robust.
Trust the Blazers in a shootout
Both teams are struggling defensively so we should see some points here. In a shootout like this you have to take the team with more offensive upside and right now that is clearly the Trail Blazers.
They have two players playing at, or close, to their best and, with the way Toronto are playing right now, it is hard to believe they can keep up with Portland for the entire game. It may be close for a while, and Toronto may even stage a bit of a comeback, but they are so hard to trust right now as they just can't seem to put it together for 48 minutes.