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The Lede: Raptors Losing Their Serge

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Don’t have time to read through 1,000 words, but need some informed betting tips? Here’s a quick rundown on today’s biggest sports story, and how it impacts the way you should bet. Miss yesterday’s? See it here.

Raptors Serge Ibaka may Face a Suspension

After Jimmy Butler connected on a shot from behind the arc to extend Chicago’s third-quarter lead to 16, Serge Ibaka and Robin Lopez took exception to one another. Lopez appeared to bump Ibaka, which led to Ibaka elbowing Lopez’s back in retaliation. The Bulls’ big-man then slapped the ball from Ibaka’s hands, ultimately leading to punches being thrown. Although neither one really connected, both players were ejected from the game, and will almost certainly receive further punishment from the league.

This is problematic for a Raptors team that is chasing Washington for the third seed in the East. Avoiding the four-seed likely means avoiding LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the second round. After their win last night, Toronto is only a half-game back of Washington. Of the Raptors’ 11 remaining games, only three come against teams above .500 (Indiana twice and Cleveland). But already playing without Kyle Lowry, Toronto cannot afford to be sans Serge Ibaka for long.

Toronto will take the court next tomorrow night (Thursday, March 23) against the Miami Heat, who now sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. If Ibaka is not in the lineup, I would side with Miami, who embarrassed the Raptors 11 days ago with Ibaka on the floor. As long as the Raptors’ rim protector is out of the lineup, I won’t be betting Toronto.

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