Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers (Game 3): Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers

Where: Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA

When: Wednesday, May 2nd at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV): ESPN

Series Standing: 1-1 Tie

Toronto Raptors (Away)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 58-24 | TOR}

Season Record: 58-24

Projected Starting Five: (G) Kyle Lowry – (G) Danny Green – (F) Kawhi Leonard – (F) Pascal Siakam – (C) Marc Gasol

Top Performers:

  • (F) Kawhi Leonard – 26.7 PPG | 7.3 RPG | 1.8 SPG
  • (F) Pascal Siakam – 17.0 PPG | 6.9 RPG | .368 3P%
  • (G) Kyle Lowry – 14.2 PPG | 8.7 APG | 1.4 SPG

The Toronto Raptors were misfiring all over the court during Game 2. What was meant to be a close out of a difficult home stand, turned into an unfortunate split against a dangerous opponent.

While the likes of Leonard and Siakam were productive, the efficiency wasn’t there. It forced the Raptors reserves into play and they faltered.

Game 3 will be the toughest game of the season for the Toronto Raptors. Their backs are against the wall as they face a two game road trip, before even the thought of returning to Toronto for Game 5.

Philadelphia 76ers (Home)

Head Coach: Brett Brown {All-Time 178-314 | PHI}

Season Record: 51-31, 3rd in the East

Projected Starting Five: (G) Ben Simmons – (G) JJ Redick – (F) Tobias Harris – (F) Jimmy Butler – (C) Joel Embiid

Top Performers:

  • (C) Joel Embiid – 24.3 MPG | 24.8 PPG | 13.5 RPG | .507 FG%
  • (F) Tobias Harris – 35.2 MPG | 17.6 PPG | 8.8 RPG | .500 3P%
  • (G) Ben Simmons – 33.4 MPG | 17.2 PPG | 6.8 RPG | 7.6 APG

The Sixers came out with a different energy in their second game against the Toronto Raptors. Where they were dismantled by Siakam and Leonard in Game 1, the Sixers chose to stay home on the two stars in Game 2.

The Sixers still struggled against the Raptors stellar defence, but Toronto’s inability to convert on shots is ultimately what helped Philadelphia win the game.

Philadelphia has home court advantage, but they will have to withstand what will be a focused Toronto attack. If Philly’s defence can hold, they can take control of this series.

What’s At Stake?

The Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers are two classic Atlantic Division rivals. The lop-sided nature of their recent histories are shown in their all-time record – the Raptors lead the Sixers 54-38.

The Raptors and the Sixers have met once before in the NBA Playoffs. Back in 2001 the Sixers pulled of a nail-biting series win courtesy of a Vince Carter misfire to lead the all-time playoff series 1-0 over the Raptors.

The Toronto Raptors looked mortal in Game 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers. They’ll look to regroup in hopes of not surrendering the series lead in Game 3.

The Philadelphia 76ers look to take a hold of the series by winning the first of their two-game homestand against the Raptors.

Toronto’s Bench Is a Liability

In Game 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers, it was thought that the Toronto Raptors’ reserves would find their way. After a disappointing Game 1, it would only be natural for one of the NBA’s nest reserve units to rebound. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

In Game 1 the Toronto Raptors’ bench contributed only ten points. Game 2 was worse, as the Raptors reserves totaled only five points on the evening. To make matters more difficult, the bench unit was shredded by the Sixers offense.

When Fred Vanvleet was on the court he was entirely taken advantage of by JJ Redick off of screens and Ben Simmons in the post. His performance drives the Raptors backups, so Toronto will need improvement from him if they hope to steal a game in Philadelphia.

Defensive Changes Were Key to the Sixers’ Success

Brett Brown suggested that guarding Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 was going to be a group effort. He wasn’t lying, as Harris, Butler, and Simmons shared the responsibility. In Game 2 however, Simmons was the primary defender and found success.

On every possession in Game 2, Leonard was picked up by Simmons in transition or in the half court. Despite shooting 46.5% from three in the series, Leonard is curiously 0-9 from deep when Simmons is his check.

Leonard is a talented scorer, so he will always get his points. However, promoting inefficiency is what the Sixers need to slow Leonard. The fewer possessions for others, the fewer points Toronto can put on the board. It worked in Game 2, now the Sixers wait to see how Toronto will adjust.

Toronto Doesn’t Need to Panic

Hot takes to rule the world of reporting in an almost negative fashion. Dominant in Game 1, outlets were calling for a sweep for the Raptors. After losing Game 2, the Raptors have been criticized and ruled out. Truth is, it’s just one game and the Raptors are professionals at bouncing back.

For example, in round one, the Raptors dropped their first game and then proceeded to win four straight against the Magic. If anything, the Raptors may be a bit bolder in their lineup decisions.

We’re likely to see Jeremy Lin and Patrick McCaw with the struggles of Fred Vanvleet and Norman Powell. In fact, don’t be surprised to see more Marc Gasol. When the going was tough in Game 2, Gasol keyed their third-quarter run with his tremendous playmaking. They won’t fall for the same schemes two games in a row.

Jimmy Butler Must Be Thrilled

Butler has been the center of a lot of attention since arriving in Philadelphia. Concerned with his lack of freedom in the offense, the Sixers pulled out Game 2 by appeasing Butler and letting him run rampant.

Where Simmons is usually the primary playmaker, Butler handled the ball much more throughout the match. The amount of pick-and-rolls Butler played off of was significant. It was a massive contributor to his 30 points in the game.

Brett Brown doesn’t like to play the pick-and-roll. Only 11.5% of their offense comes from that play, as they prefer to run in transition with Simmons as the leader. But with the Raptors speed, they’ve found a way to exploit Toronto in the half court. We’ll see if the Raptors can adjust.

Philadelphia 76ers Roster Notes

F Mike Scott – 23 Apr 2019 – Day To Day (Heel) – Scott left Tuesday’s (Apr 23) game with a right heel contusion and will not return.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

F OG Anunoby – 13 Apr 2019 – Out (Appendix) – Anunoby will not return until the Eastern Conference Finals at the earliest, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

F Chris Boucher – 22 Apr 2019 – Day To Day (Back) – Boucher was ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (April 22) Game Five.

X-Factors: Serge Ibaka (TOR) vs Ben Simmons (PHI)

Serge Ibaka is a shadow of his regular season self in this year’s playoffs. For the Raptors to succeed, they’ll need his strength and contributions off the bench. For Ben Simmons, he continues a balancing act of control and freedom for him and his teammates. Luckily, his defense has kept him on the court.

Serge Ibaka

Center | 6-10, 235lb (208cm, 106kg) | Republic of the Congo | Exp. 9 Years

15.0 PPG | 1.3 APG | 8.1 RPG | 0.4 SPG | 1.4 BPG | 1.5 TOV | .529 FG% | .290 3P%

Serge Ibaka was a key piece in the success of the Toronto Raptors during the regular season. In this year’s post-season, he has gone missing almost entirely.

Compared to the regular season, Ibaka has been disappointing in the playoffs. He’s scored in double-digits only four times in his seven playoff games and has failed to reach double-digit rebounds in any game.

Most alarming was his defense in Game 2 against the Sixers. Known as a defensive stopper, his poor decision making on defense forced him to play only 13 minutes in the game. The Raptors need better from him.

Ben Simmons

Point Guard | 6-10, 230lb (208cm, 104kg) | LSU/Australia | Exp. 1 Years

16.9 PPG | 7.7 APG | 8.8 RPG | 1.4 SPG | 0.8 BPG | 3.5 TOV | .563 FG% | .000 3P%

It is tough to say where Brett Brown leans with Ben Simmons at the moment. He did an admirable job defending Kawhi Leonard in Game 2, but with Butler operating most of the offense, the Sixers are playing four-on-five.

Simmons was near invisible in Game 2, but not in a negative sense. He still passed the ball brilliantly and crashed the boards, unfortunately, his playmaking was relegated to the post.

Whether or not Butler can score 30 points per game going forward is certainly a concern. What’s true is that Simmons needs to be involved with the ball in his hands to be effective. Can his defense keep up enough to make up for his lack of attacking contributions? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers Predictions and Odds

All signs point to the game going the Sixers way. They have home court and the rhythm. One thing is for certain though, shooting aside the Toronto defense is in the leagues top tier. Toronto won’t be scored on so easily in two straight games.

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