The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers will meet up for game three of their playoff series on Thursday night. The series will now shift to the city of Brotherly Love after the first two games took place in Canada. This series is tied up at one game a piece, and the 76ers have stolen home court advantage away with a victory in game two of the series. These two teams are both loaded with talent and are led by a superstar, and this series is likely headed for at least six games.
Toronto got off to a great start in this best-of-seven series with an impressive 108-95 victory in game one. The Raptors won four straight games to close out the Orlando Magic in the first round, and they used that momentum to their advantage in the series opener. Philadelphia also won their first round series over the Orlando Magic in five games, but they weren’t ready to play in the series opener. The Sixers made the necessary adjustments and rallied to hold off the Toronto Raptors by a score of 94-89 in game two. Philadelphia is a -1.0 point favorite over the Raptors in game three of the series.
Sixers Defense Will Be a Big Key
The Philadelphia 76ers want to win games with their high-powered offense, but their defense will be a huge key in game three of the series. Philadelphia completely shut down the Raptors in game two, and they were able to find a way to contain Kawhi Leonard. The Sixers are still dealing with a banged-up Joel Embiid, but they are expected to get Greg Monroe and Mike Scott back for this game. Philadelphia gave up 112.5 points per game during the regular season, but they appear to have bought in on that end of the floor.
Jimmy Butler began this season in Minnesota, but he was brought to Philadelphia to be their top dog. The former Timberwolves star poured in a game-high 30 points in the victory in game two, and will probably be their leader on offense going forward. Point guard Ben Simmons is playing much better of late as well. Simmons is averaging more than 15 points and close to 7 assists per game in these playoffs. The Sixers might need other players to step up while they wait for Embiid to heal.
Raptors Need Some Scoring Depth
Toronto might have the best player in this series, but that player can’t keep winning games on his own. Kawhi Leonard is averaging 40 points per game so far in this series, and has been able to do almost anything that he wants. Toronto was a top-10 scoring team during the regular season, but they have struggled for much of the playoffs. Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry have combined to score more than 35 points per game, but they are the only other Raptors averaging double-figures. Toronto is going to need someone from their bench to step up in a big way to take game three from the 76ers.
The Raptors were also a top-10 scoring defense during the regular season, and they need to continue to play well on that end of the floor. Toronto is averaging eight steals and 4.4 blocks per game so far in the postseason, and they have hounded the Sixers in both games of the series. The Raptors don’t have many adjustments to make for game two, but winning on the road is never an easy task.
Raptors Stun Sixers in Philly
Toronto lost home court advantage with their loss in game two of the series, but they can get it right back in a hurry in this game. The Raptors have looked much better than the Sixers have throughout the playoffs, and they know how to win on the road. Jimmy Butler has been great for the Sixers, but their lack of depth is going to hurt them in this one. Take the Toronto Raptors +1.0 over the Philadelphia 76ers in game three.