Keys to the game: How Sixers can take a series-lead over Raptors

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The fact that the Philadelphia 76ers were able to steal a win in Toronto against the Raptors was huge for this series. The Sixers starting five really weren’t blowing the Raptors starting five out of the water, but the bench did show up big time for the Sixers in game two. In fact, I would say that was the reason they got off to such a hot start in the opening half. James Ennis III seemed to be hyper-focused with the way he was shooting the ball, producing a good showing of points.

As I looked at previously, it would have seemed that the Raptors would have the undisputed advantage coming off the bench, but that particularly wasn’t so in game two. Combining that with the steady performance that Jimmy Butler provided, it was just enough for the Sixers to escape and tie the series at one. Headed back to Philadelphia, the Sixers have every chance in the world to take the series in games three and four to put Toronto’s backs against the ropes. Here’s what they’ll need to do if they are to ensure that happens.

Rebounds

In game two, Jimmy Butler performed well. He recorded a double-double (30pts and 11rebs) while complimenting the rest of the Philadelphia 76ers in a game where one stat jumped out in particular, separating them from the Toronto Raptors in a positive effort. While turnovers were still in favor of the Raptors, the number of rebounds wasn’t even close, favoring the Sixers.

Butler had eleven of his own, which created opportunities to put points up on the same possession, or shut down a team with lethal shooters for a change of possession. This defensive stat was exactly what the Sixers needed to ensure a win against a team like the Raptors. If you are out-rebounding the other team, in this instance, Kawhi Leonard isn’t having as many opportunities to hit his three-point shots to cut into the lead or gain a lead.

Speaking of players who did help win the rebounding for the Sixers, Tobias Harris also had eleven of his own. This was a big help for the Sixers in securing the win against the Raptors in game two. Winning the game in the paint is what the Sixers must continue to do because that is a strength that they do have against the Raptors.

Continued on the next page.

Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

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