The two sides were trade partners at the March 25th deadline and their matchup will feature familiar faces donning new jerseys. The Toronto Raptors parted ways with Norman Powell in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Powell sizzled in his Trail Blazers debut, tallying 22 points in a 112-105 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday. Meanwhile, Gary Trent Jr. scored eight points in his debut with the Raptors, while Rodney Hood added two points in their 104-100 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Fixture: Portland Trail Blazers vs Toronto Raptors Prediction - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Sunday, March 28th, 2021 7:00 PM ET. (Monday 4:30 AM IST)
Venue: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers have knocked one out of the park by adding Norman Powell to the mix. Terry Stott's side were already surging in the West but now appear to have all the pieces to make a run for the conference finals.
The Portland Trail Blazers were further bolstered by the return of Jusuf Nurkic in their previous matchup. Nurkic played 19 minutes in their win over Orlando, registering 8 points and as many boards while also dishing out two assists. However, the night belonged to Norman Powell and CJ McCollum, who combined for 44 points en route to their 27th win of the campaign.
On the injury report, the Portland Trail Blazers have listed their superstar point guard Damian Lillard (knee) as questionable for Sunday's game against the Toronto Raptors. Meanwhile, Nasir Little has been ruled out for this contest due to a sprained right thumb.
Key Player - Norman Powell
Norman Powell is a big addition to a team with title aspirations. The 7th year guard brings championship experience with him from the 2019 NBA title run with the Toronto Raptors. He has elevated his game and is scoring the ball at a high level. Powell is shooting the ball efficiently, which makes him a lethal asset for the Portland Trail Blazers in the postseason.
In 43 games in this campaign, Powell is averaging an impressive 19.7 points on 49.9% shooting from the field. He is also a threat from the three-point line where he is clocking 44.6% shooting accuracy. Norm's offensive capabilities make him a good fit in the high-flying Portland Trail Blazers system. Beyond his scoring, he is collecting three boards per contest while averaging 1.8 assists per game.
The 27-year-old will also help his new team as a versatile defender on the wing. Powell's match with someone like Robert Covington could help the Blazers get better on the defensive end of the hardwood.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - CJ McCollum, Shooting Guard - Normal Powell, Small Forward - Derrick Jones Jr., Power Forward - Robert Covington, Center - Jusuf Nurkic
Toronto Raptors Preview
The Toronto Raptors are well below .500 on the season, resting at 11th place in the Eastern Conference with an 18-27 record behind them. The 2019 NBA champs don't appear to be in control of the on-going campaign and probably won't make it to the postseason this year.
The Toronto Raptors have lost nine of their last ten games and will be eager to turn the tide back in their favor with a big win against the Trail Blazers on Sunday. The Raptors are coming off a loss to the Phoenix Suns in their previous matchup.
Pascal Siakam (26 points, 11 rebounds) and Fred VanVleet (22 points, 3 assists) fought hard to keep their side in the game but did not receive much help from the rest of the cast. The result marked their 27th defeat of the season.
Key Player - Fred VanVleet
Fred VanVleet is the difference-maker for the Toronto Raptors. He and Siakam have fought hard to keep their side afloat and have an identical 20.1 scoring average ahead of this fixture. VanVleet is also dishing out 6.3 assists per game in 40 appearances thus far.
VanVleet has flexed his offensive prowess this season, tallying a career-best 54 points against the Magic in February. He has scored above 20 points in three of his last four outings and could produce another stellar performance against the Portland Trail Blazers at their temporary home in Tampa, Florida.
Toronto Raptors Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kyle Lowry, Shooting Guard - Fred VanVleet, Small Forward - DeAndre Bembry, Power Forward - OG Anunoby, Center - Pascal Siakam
Trail Blazers vs Raptors Match Prediction
The Portland Trail Blazers have momentum on their side as they will roll out with a two-game winning streak against their counterparts. The Blazers are loaded with star-caliber players and are favorites to win this matchup even without the services of Damian Lillard, who could remain on the sidelines for this contest.
Meanwhile, Gary Trent Jr. will have a point to prove as he faces his former club in this matchup. This motivation could propel his gameplay and give the Toronto Raptors a fighting chance. However, the odds remain in favor of Norman Powell and the Blazers to come out on top in this one.
The Portland Trail Blazers enter this matchup as the hands-down favorites to win this tie.
Where to watch Trail Blazers vs Raptors?
The game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Toronto Raptors will be telecast on Sportsnet (Raptors) and NBC Sports Northwest (Trail Blazers). Fans can also live stream the game via the NBA League Pass.