7 issues to search for in Sport 7

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Solely one of many Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers can be headed to the Japanese Convention finals on Sunday.

The Sport 7 battle between the East’s 2- and 3-seeds is scheduled to go down on Mom’s Day at 7 p.m. ET within the Scotiabank Enviornment on TNT, and can finish what has bizarrely been each a extremely combative and noncompetitive collection. Listed below are seven questions that we’ll be in search of the reply to.

1. Simply how good can Kawhi Leonard be?

If there was an MVP on this collection to this point, it’s Kawhi Leonard, full cease. The small ahead is averaging 33.7 factors on 56.eight p.c capturing with 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per sport, his finest numbers ever in a single season.

Leonard has rapidly endeared himself to Toronto followers and made the Raptors look very, very sensible for taking the huge gamble that was buying and selling away DeMar DeRozan for Leonard and Danny Inexperienced.

This Raptors-Sixers collection has no scarcity of stars. (AP Picture/Chris Szagola)

This may very well be Leonard’s sole season in Toronto, however his addition turned the Raptors into bona fide contenders and taking them to the Japanese Convention finals and past would cement his standing because the second-biggest free agent in basketball this offseason.

2. Will Joel Embiid ever crack Pau Gasol?

Talking of taking a chance with trades, the Raptors’ midseason acquisition of middle Marc Gasol has been price it merely due to what the Memphis Grizzlies nice has completed to Sixers star this collection.

No participant had guarded Embiid extra successfully than Gasol up to now coming into this collection, and Gasol’s presence has led to a 37.eight area purpose share with 4.zero turnovers per sport for the middle. Embiid has cracked 20 factors in a sport simply as soon as this collection: Sport 3, a 21-point Sixers win. If the Sixers wish to advance, they might want the same effort from Embiid.

3. Can we’ve got another sport that isn’t a blowout?

The final two video games of this collection have been one large Bounce to Conclusions mat. First, the Raptors eviscerate the Sixers with a 31-point win in Sport 5 to take a 3-2 lead and transfer the Sixers to the brink. Then, the Sixers reply with a runaway win in Sport 6 to power a Sport 7 and trigger Philly followers to imagine once more.

Nonetheless the momentum shifts, hopefully we’ll get another sport that doesn’t characteristic a decisive benefit at halftime. A Sport 7 blowout would certain be deflating for no matter promising season involves an finish.

4. Which crew will make its 3-point pictures?

Funnily sufficient, who blew out who in Video games 5 and 6 just about got here right down to who was making exterior pictures. The Sixers shot solely 6-of-24 to the Raptors’ 16-of-40 in Sport 5, then the tables have been turned when the Raptors (9-of-36) fell wanting the Sixers (10-of-28) in Sport 6.

Whoever wins may simply come right down to which of Inexperienced, Pascal Siakam, J.J. Redick, Tobias Harris and extra are feeling it from deep early.

5. Can the Toronto bench put up a decent effort?

Within the span of a 12 months, we’ve gone from “Dominance of Raptors ‘bench mob’ is getting ridiculous” to “Raptors will not go a lot farther with their unplayable bench.” Due to totally inconsistent efforts from the likes of Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell, the Raptors principally have to hold on for expensive life when any of their vaunted beginning 5 comes out.

Outdoors of Ibaka, the Raptors’ bench didn’t rating a single level in Sport 6 till the shedding effort was nicely into rubbish time. That in all probability isn’t going to fly in Sport 7.

6. Can Ben Simmons preserve Sixers followers pleased?

Does any participant have extra personally driving on this collection than Ben Simmons? A season after successful Rookie of the Yr, Simmons’ lack of capturing has principally progressed to meme territory and he’s damaged 20 factors in a sport simply thrice in 4 profession collection.

The Sixers are going to wish Simmons to take that subsequent step to superstardom in the event that they ever wish to develop into a real East energy with their present core. A Sport 7 win could be an amazing begin, whereas a Sport 7 loss may set off some powerful questions for the crew this offseason.

7. Which free company selections are we going to speak about?

Between Leonard, Butler and Harris, each of those groups are going to have their futures determined in free company this offseason. The shedding crew will instantly be subjected to hypothesis over whether or not or not they’ll retain their present star energy.

The Raptors have nearly as good a shot at retaining Leonard as anybody anticipated them to, however can they actually maintain off the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers? The Sixers pushed nearly all of their future chips into their present core of Embiid, Simmons, Butler and Harris. Shedding one or each of Butler and Harris could be a major step again.

Whoever wins on Sunday doesn’t must reckon with that for an additional few weeks.

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