Sixers aim to take down the reigning champion Raptors

After nearly five months of not having a meaningful game, the Sixers have reminded their fans of just how up and down they can be. After Brett Brown and his team allowed TJ Warren to drop 53 points in a loss against Indiana, they did bounce back. To follow up that painful game, the Sixers rebounded with back to back wins over the Spurs and Wizards. Next up, the 76ers won a testy one against the Wizards, only to fall to the Trailblazers and lose Joel Embiid for the time being. To wrap up their bubble so far, the Sixers dropped their last game Tuesday night against the Suns without four of their starters.

Coverage will begin at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with radio coverage on 97.5 the Fantatic. The game can be caught on ESPN with tip off scheduled for 6:30.

The Mighty are Falling

Sixers:

The Philadelphia 76ers went into their game against Phoenix without four of their starters. Ben Simmons is out indefinitely after receiving surgery for his dislocated kneecap. Joel Embiid’s injury does not look to be serious, and does not look to miss an extended period of time. I would fully expect him to sit this one out, however.

Sixers without Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson vs. Suns
Embiid sits on the sideline as the Sixers lose 130-117 to the Suns Tuesday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP

Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson and Al Horford, who all were questionable heading into this one, all should play against the Raptors. Richardson was simply resting, Al was dealing with some knee soreness, as Harris sat out with ankle soreness.

Raptors:

Serge Ibaka is questionable for Toronto with a knee bruise. It’s possible a bruised right knee keeps Ibaka sidelined for a second straight game. If Ibaka misses another game, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris Boucher should receive more minutes. Patrick McCaw, like Simmons, has left the bubble to receive treatment on his knee, making him unavailable for this one.

Familiar Foes

To start this off, it’s impossible not to think about last year’s playoff clash between the two teams. The Sixers showed plenty of fight, but dropped the series after the heartbreaking Kahwi Leonard buzzer beater.

This season, the Sixers and Raptors have squared off three times. In this game, the Sixers will be looking for the season split. The Raptors have taken the first and third games of this season series, winning both games in Toronto. In game one, we saw Embiid go scoreless for his first and only time as a professional player. Richardson led the way with 25 points in that one, however Siakem’s 25 led the Raptors to the win. In the second game of the series, Embiid dropped another dud, but Tobias Harris’ 26 points carried the Sixers past their opponent. Game three flipped back to Toronto’s favor, as Embiid missed this one after getting surgery on his hand, and Richardson left in the first quarter.

Prediction

Philadelphia is currently a full game back of fifth place in the Eastern Conference as well, adding to the importance of this game. The Sixers have already given Indiana the tie breaker for that fifth spot, and likely have to win the last two if they want a chance to take the fifth seed.

Philadelphia is in a great spot to prove the haters wrong. Despite numerous trade rumors having burst onto the scene in response to Simmons’ injury, as well as their entire “top five” missing last game, the Sixers still have basketball to play. Their odds to make a playoff run are decreasing by the day, but their bench guys proved their worth in the loss to the Suns. Despite having the Sixers’ number this season, the Raptors are locked into their spot in the standings and are only playing for their record now.

This game will be close, but I think that the Sixers could take this one if the Raptors decide to limit their starters’ minutes. If that’s the case, Philly wins in an ugly 104-99 game.

Mandatory Credit – © John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

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