Handicapping the NBA: The Raptors Need Drake
Handicapping the NBA: The Raptors Need Drake

This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.

Like most sane people on this flat earth, I like music. Drake, premier Toronto Raptors Global Ambassador, has yet to show up to a Raptors game since Drake Night on November 16, 2016, when the Raptors lost 127-121 to the Golden State Warriors.

Was Drake the reason for the loss? Possibly.

Other reasons include, but are not limited to: Durant/Curry combining for 65 points, the Warriors shooting 50.6 percent, Draymond Green patrolling the floor with defensive wizardry. None of those reasons are nearly as fun as blaming Drake though.

Now that "More Life" has been streamed a gazillion times, and is also a gazillion times better than "Views", Drake needs to get back to his courtside seat and once again scream in opposing player's ears, clap obnoxiously during inbound plays and make it look like he HATES the opponent, even though he undoubtedly has a Instagram picture with all of them, twice.

The Knicks have Spike Lee, the Lakers have Jack Nicholson (and every other celebrity in Hollywood save for noted Clippers fan Billy Crystal), the Grizzlies even have Justin Timberlake. Drake may come off as the guy who sits courtside at every basketball game, but anybody who loves sports knows if they disposable Drake money they would also sit courtside at the game because it's fun (I think, I've never been closer than the 8th row and was almost ejected for yelling at Phil Jackson).

The Raptors broke a torrid losing streak against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. It is that kind of momentum they need now, especially DeMar DeRozan's hot hand, if they want to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals.

If Drake isn't there, they don't stand a chance. That is my completely unfounded subjective opinion and I hope you agree. If not, yell at me on Twitter, I like the attention.

2016-17 so far: 23-21-1

With a record like that, and the Vegas juice taking a small fraction, you would have won enough money to buy yourself a beer. You're welcome.

Knicks at Jazz (-10.5)

Big spread here, even for the Knicks. Normally, when you have to match up your unicorn 7'2" center against Rudy Gobert and the defensively fantastic (102.2 defensive efficiency for Utah, third best in the league), you might panic. Fortunately, the Knicks don't run the offense through Porzingis. I watched this live against the Clippers on Monday, and it was truly fascinating.

On the other hand, throughout his career, Carmelo Anthony shoots 48.7 percent against the Jazz. Only two teams are more likely to get torched by Melo: the Wizards and the Knicks. So technically, only one team at the moment. This would be an ideal place for the Knicks to use Porzingis as a decoy on the offensive end and have him swallow up Gobert in 15 feet of wingspan. They could make the world's largest human pretzel if they strive for it.

The Jazz are no joke on defense, but the Knicks reserves cut a 25-point deficit to eight points on Monday, covering the spread with mere seconds remaining. With Melo's history, this should only be roughly a eight point loss.

The Pick: The Knicks (+10.5)

Pacers at Celtics (-8)

The Celtics are still hunting the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Pacers are a six seed with a minus-0.8 point differential. That negative differential is going to haunt them in the playoffs, and should haunt them on Wednesday when they take on Isaiah Thomas and his healthy-looking knee.

Boston is 21-7 when it has its preferred starting five of Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford, and Amir Johnson together.

Boston is also 38-13 as a favorite this season and welcomes a 14-23 underdog in Indiana.

For good measure, the O/U is 208.5...take the under.

The Pick: Celtics (-8)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Rubin
Jason Rubin is a sports producer a part of the ESPN social content team where he runs point on the ESPN MMA Show on Snapchat. He had one good season betting the NBA and contributed to Rotowire's NBA content. Previously he broadcasted for TYTSports and contributed to multiple platforms along the way. He is a Carmelo Anthony apologist.
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