After a dominant, well-rounded team performance Saturday night against the Heat, the Philadelphia 76ers (11-5) travel to Toronto to face the Raptors (11-4). Monday’s opening tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m. EST.
Coverage will begin at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Radio coverage will be on 97.5 The Fanatic.
The Sixers and Raptors are evenly matched teams, forcing an even spread. The over/under is set at 214.
Avenging the Shot Heard Around the World
Last time the Sixers visited Scotiabank Arena, Kawhi Leonard ended the Sixers season in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The heartbreaking shot stayed prevalent in Sixers’ fans all offseason, watching their season end as Leonard hit a falling three to seal the win. The Sixers roster is using this as motivation going into Monday’s marquee matchup. Expect the Sixers to have a spark under them as they go in to face the Pascal Siakam led Raptors.
The New Raptors
The Raptors are last season’s NBA champions and sport an 11-4 record as they currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference.
This past offseason, they lost star Kawhi Leonard (Clippers) and sharpshooter Danny Green (Lakers). They did not gain anybody notable, but they did resign Philly-native Kyle Lowry and Patrick McCaw.
They are led by Pascal Siakam, who is their leading scorer and rebounder with 25.7 points and 8.5 boards per game.
The Raptors are coming off a win where they slipped past the Atlanta Hawks, 119-116, as Siakam went for 34 points on 11-18 (61.1%) shooting.
The Sixers have not had much success on the road this season. Despite being an overwhelming 7-0 at Wells Fargo Center, the team is 4-5 on the road. However, with the starting five now in place and clicking for Philadelphia, they are looking unstoppable. After their win over the Heat, Richardson acknowledged this thought:
I think I saw our chemistry get better. For instance, Tobias and I had a little back and forth, but nothing bad. It was one of those things where I was screaming at him for the ball to get it to a mismatch, but he didn’t understand it. We then explained it and it didn’t escalate. We fist-bumped it and kept it going. I saw a few other instances like that. I think when you can go at your teammates like that and come out of it positively, that’s a good step forward.
In last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, Siakam killed the Sixers. In five of the seven games in the series, the forward topped 20 points, maxing out at 29. And that was with Kawhi averaging 33.7 points. The Raptors are also showcasing an undefeated home record, being 6-0 in front of the Toronto crowd this season.
The Raptors are a very good basketball team. However, this offseason, they probably got a bit worse, while the Sixers got better. Records may not show this, but the Raptors lost two notable starters while not adding any “star.”
This one could go either way and expect it to be a back and forth contest. The Sixers should come out hot, but the Raptors are a gritty team, with a second unit led by Fred VanFleet.
The Raptors are going to drop their first game at home, with the Sixers edging out a 110-108 win.
Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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