Game Preview: Sixers take on Raptors in key divisional matchup

The Philadelphia 76ers are Toronto bound as the team looks to take on Pascal Siakam and the Raptors. The Raptors currently hold a one-game lead over the Sixers for third place in the Eastern Conference. A win tonight is a must with the playoff seed implications.

The Raptors have been a bit hot lately winning four games in a row. While that is always impressive, three of the four wins came against bottom-dwelling teams (Washington, Minnesota, Atlanta). This team is tough but they’re not world-beaters.

Keys to the Game:

Defend the Perimeter

The Toronto Raptors are the third-best team from deep this season. The Sixers need all hands on deck to make sure they aren’t buried the Toronto’s snipers. You should see a heavy rotation of Sixer defenders, obviously Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson but also Matisse Thybulle and James Ennis III.

Brett Brett needs to utilize as many wing defenders as possible to slow down Toronto. Those defenders likewise need to make sure that they defend “in control” and what I mean by that is to make sure they don’t over commit. If you as a defender over commit you’ll often find yourself out of place leading to open shots or worse, fouling the shooter.

Let the Fresh Prince Do His Thing

Ben Simmons has looked the part of an All-NBA talent since Joel Embiid has been sidelined with injury. Simmons has been averaging over 21 points, over nine rebounds, almost eight assists, and more than two steals in that time. Simmons has also been playing top-notch defense in this period too which further shows just how impressive he’s been.

The Sixers need to let Simmons control the tone and run the offense through him for the win tonight. The Sixers don’t necessarily match up well against the Raptors but if Simmons can will himself the way he has over the past few games few teams can contain him even without a jumpshot.

Prediction

We all know how the Sixers play away from home, they are a disgusting 9-14 outside of Philly so that makes any road game tough especially against a team like the Raptors. If the Sixers pull off the win it will be a hard-fought back and forth game. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening especially since the game is in Toronto.

FINAL SCORE: SIXERS 97 – Raptors 113

The game will be nationally televised on ESPN with a 7:00 PM EST tip-off. You can also watch on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Don’t like any of the TV commentators? Listen to Tom McGinnis call the game live in 97.5 FM the Fanatic.

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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