Eastern Conference Showdown: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors
In a wide-open Eastern Conference, several teams are trying to establish dominance in a conference where as many as five or six teams have a legitimate shot of winning the conference. Two of those teams will meet up on Tuesday when the Philadelphia 76ers (4-3) travel to Scotiabank Arena to take on the Toronto Raptors (6-1).
Both teams will be playing in the second game of a back to back as the 76ers beat the Atlanta Hawks Monday 113-92 while the Raptors suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks 124-109. On Monday, Ben Simmons had a huge game, leading the team in points (21), assists (9) and rebounds (12). For the Raptors, it was Serge Ibaka with a big night with 30 points and 9 rebounds. Still, the stars will be out as Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the rest of the 76ers take on Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, and the Raptors. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.
The Raptors opened as 6.5-point favorites at home in this one with moneyline having them at -260 while the 76ers are at +215.
Behind The Numbers
Given that both teams have only played 7 games, it is admittedly a small sample size. Still, the Toronto Raptors have been solid on both sides of the floor thus far. Their adjusted offensive rating puts them at 8th in the league at 114.7 while the 76ers come in at 17th with a 108.86 adjusted offensive rating. Defensively, the Raptors come in at 10th in adjusted defensive rating with 107.97 points while the 76ers rank 14th at 110.84.
76ers Look To Get Some Consistency
For the Philadelphia 76ers, they have struggled early on to find some consistency, as they have not won more than two in a row at any point yet this season. They will have the opportunity to do that on Tuesday, though, as they travel north of the border.
Leading the way for the 76ers thus far has been Joel Embiid. The talented big man is averaging 26.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Throw in 6’10” point guard Ben Simmons (14.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.7 assists per game), and they have as dynamic a 1-2 punch as most anyone in the league. Their surrounding cast isn’t too bad either. Dario Saric (10.9 points, 7.9 rebounds), JJ Redick (19.3 points including 40.9% from behind the arc), and Robert Covington (13.3 points, 5.9 rebounds) have all had nice starts to the season.
Raptors Look To Bounce Back From First Loss Of Season
There were a lot of rumblings about how the Raptors were going to gel after the big offseason shakeup sending Demar DeRozan to the Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard. Early returns have been good. So far, Kawhi is averaging 26.6 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists per game and seems to be playing with an edge that he certainly did not have last year in San Antonio.
One of the most impressive things about Toronto, though, is their depth. Outside of Kawhi, they have 6 players who are averaging double-digit scoring early in the season. Danny Green (10.7 points, 5.1 rebounds), Serge Ibaka (16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds), Kyle Lowry (18.3 points, 4 rebounds, 11 assists) Pascal Siakam (10.3 points, 5.9 rebounds), Jonas Valanciunas (12.3 points, 7.7 rebounds) and Fred VanVleet (11.5 points, 5.3 assists) have all had nice starts to the season. There really isn’t a question that the Raptors have the talent to make a run in the postseason again, the real question is just whether this is the year that they can finally get over the hump and make it to the NBA Finals.
Take The Points
Between the two teams, I like the unit that the Raptors put out on a nightly basis better than the 76ers. With that being said, I don’t like it immensely better. As a result, when getting spotted 6.5 points, I am going to take the 76ers just about every time. While they haven’t played as well as they can, I think they might be starting to gain some momentum. It still wouldn’t shock me if the Raptors end up winning this one, but at 6.5 points, I will take my chances with the 76ers at least keeping it close.
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