7 issues to count on within the Raptors-76ers playoff sequence


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The primary spherical of the NBA playoffs concluded on Tuesday night time for the Japanese Convention and as anticipated the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers will sq. off in Spherical 2.

It didn’t take lengthy for each groups to advance, the Raptors and Sixers defeated the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets respectively in 5 video games every. After every dropping their Recreation 1’s, each groups accomplished the “gentleman’s sweep” in opposition to their opponents with 4 straight wins.

This second spherical sequence is a rematch 17 years within the making. The final time each groups confronted one another was within the 2001 Japanese Convention semi-finals when Philadelphia acquired the perfect of Toronto in seven video games.

Similar to in 2001 this sequence has the makings to be the most effective matchups within the second spherical. As a substitute of Vince Carter versus Allen Iverson, it’s Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, and Pascal Siakam versus Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jimmy Butler.

With Recreation 1 tipping off on Saturday, listed here are seven issues to count on within the Raptors’  second spherical matchup in opposition to the Sixers.

1. One curse down, yet one more to go

This can be a large leap of religion right here (superstitious individuals look away), however as Recreation 5 in opposition to the Magic confirmed, the Drake Curse has been damaged!

It has been effectively documented that if Drake is photographed supporting your favorite athlete or crew, chances are high issues aren’t going to go effectively. With Drake being a staple at residence video games, it has affected the Raptors as effectively in the course of the playoffs.

However with the crew’s international ambassador sitting courtside in his ordinary seat on Tuesday, the Raptors did one thing that they’ve by no means executed earlier than, they completed a playoff sequence in 5 video games by beating Orlando 115-96.

That doesn’t imply the Raptors are curse-free but. As they confirmed at the start of their sequence with the Magic, the Recreation 1 curse has but to be defeated. In opposition to a crew just like the Sixers, a robust begin goes to be important with residence court docket benefit staying in Toronto.

2. Historical past favours Kawhi and the Raptors

Regardless of all of the star energy on each groups, matchups between the Raptors and Sixers have been lopsided over the previous couple of years.

Toronto received the season sequence 3-1 with their solely loss coming in December when Leonard was out of the Raptors lineup.

Leonard has additionally had his share of fine fortune in opposition to them. Since he entered the NBA in 2011, Kawhi has by no means misplaced to Philadelphia and is using a 13-game successful streak.

Based mostly on their play this season, Leonard and the Raptors are going to be greater than able to deal with regardless of the Sixers throw their manner within the second spherical.

3. Gasol vs Embiid would be the key matchup

When the Raptors acquired Marc Gasol on the commerce deadline, it was for his capacity to go one-on-one with the perfect huge males within the Japanese Convention.

In opposition to Orlando, Gasol made All-Star Nikola Vucevic an afterthought within the Magic’s offence along with his sturdy defensive play. Coming into Spherical 2 he might be tasked with slowing down Joel Embiid, who has averaged 24.Eight factors and 13.5 rebounds per sport up to now within the playoffs.

Whereas it’s unlikely Gasol might be as efficient in opposition to Embiid as he was in opposition to Vucevic, the Spaniard has proven that he can can throw the Sixers’ All-Star centre off his sport.

4. Participant rotation goes to be essential for each coaches

What makes this matchup so fascinating is how each rosters are constructed.

Every crew has a wide range of gamers which have the peak, wingspan, and talent to defend a number of opponents and swap defensively. For the Raptors, Leonard, Siakam, and Danny Inexperienced are in a position to swap in opposition to Simmons, Butler, and Tobias Harris if want be, and the Sixers have the power to do the identical.

Head coaches Nick Nurse and Brett Brown have lots of expertise at their disposal for this sequence, which can create an fascinating tactical matchup. If one coach makes a mistake, relaxation assured their opponent will benefit from it.

5. Preserve observe of the fouls being known as

In my first spherical sequence preview I wrote in regards to the Raptors grievances with the NBA’s officers and the quantity of fouls being known as and never known as in opposition to them.

The identical factor applies within the second spherical in opposition to the Sixers.

Via the opening spherical of the playoffs, the Raptors drew a median of 18.Eight fouls per sport in opposition to Orlando, the bottom among the many 16 playoff groups. In the meantime the Sixers drew a median of 22.Eight fouls in opposition to the Brooklyn, eighth-most amongst playoff groups.

As we get into the later rounds, foul bother could make or break a crew’s efficiency. It’ll be fascinating to observe how the fouls are given out to every crew throughout this sequence.

6. Lowry must be cautious with drawing costs

Lowry has at all times been the grasp of drawing costs in opposition to his opponents, however throughout this playoff run he has taken his defensive timing to an entire new degree.

He leads all gamers within the playoffs with a median of 1.Four costs drawn per sport. To place that into perspective, the one different gamers to common over one cost drawn per sport are Damian Lillard and Paul George.

In opposition to a crew just like the Sixers that has 4 of their 5 beginning gamers standing over 6-foot-6, the 6-foot-1 Lowry has to guard himself in any respect prices when he decides to step in on defence to take a cost, particularly given his well being considerations this yr.

7. Don’t name Ben Simmons “common”

The Raptors have by no means been a crew that talks trash about their opponents in entrance of the media. However in case anybody wanted a reminder… don’t name out Ben Simmons.

Brooklyn Nets ahead Jared Dudley discovered the onerous manner after he known as Simmons “common” after they have been in half court docket conditions.

In response, Simmons shot 64.3% from the sphere and averaged 17.2 factors, 7.6 assists, and 6.Eight rebounds per sport in opposition to the Nets. In the meantime, Dudley averaged Three factors, 2.Eight assists, and 0.5 rebounds per sport.

Thanks goodness Kawhi isn’t identified for doing lots of speaking.

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