Game 6 in the Six: 76ers vs. Raptors Preview, Odds, Official Prediction
Tonight, the Philadelphia 76ers will face the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs. After going up 3-0 in the series, I don’t think there is one Sixers fan on planet earth that thought we would be heading back to Toronto but now it’s time to refocus.
After two days off, countless panic tweets, and a poll from The Liberty Line in which nearly 67 percent of Sixers fans think “we’re fucked”, we have finally arrived to game day.
I am here to tell you right now, there’s absolutely ZERO CHANCE the Philadelphia 76ers lose this series to the Toronto Raptors. Maybe I’m overly confident, but I think it ends tonight. Let’s get into it.
First Up: Bet $10, Get $200 FREE
Place a $10 Money Line wager on tonight’s Raptors-76ers game and get $200 FREE if either team makes a three pointer.
VanVleet Doubtful, Bad News for 76ers
Fred VanVleet is doubtful yet again which actually hurts the 76ers more than when he’s active. Like we all witnessed last game, when FVV is not on the court for the Raptors, they are able to utilize a longer and more athletic lineup against the 76ers. That caused the 76ers fits in Game 5 along the perimeter with bigger players on Tyrese Maxey and James Harden.
Minus VanVleet the Raptors have also been able to run their entire offense through Pascal Siakam. On countless occasions, we watched Embiid leave the paint to provide “help defense” on Siakam at the top of the key. In return, the Raptors would send a cutter from the weak side into the paint for an easy bucket. If I have to watch Precious Achiuwa tap in a bunny layup / alley-oop over and over again tonight I’ll literally off myself by halftime.
76ers Defensive Adjustments
When Embiid does come to provide help defensively, either the first option for the Sixers should be to drop someone down in the paint to defend the weak side cut, but they also need to be careful of who’s standing outside on the perimeter. Siakam was tremendous in finding OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes or Gary Trent Jr. for a wide open three point shot last game.
Defensive adjustments have to be made if the 76ers want to limit Raptors runs tonight in Toronto and for the love of God, please make sure that there are at minimum two or three Sixers jerseys looking to rebound the basketball.
Stats from last game that drove me crazy
- The Sixers were outscored in the paint 56-36
- The Sixers got beat on the fast break 24-16
- The Sixers allowed 20 points on 16 turnovers
I know Embiid is playing with a screwed up hand but if the 76ers want to win tonight, they need to be better in the paint and limit turnovers. If they can control the boards, that will limit fast break opportunities for the Raptors. Stop turning the ball over and get back to Games 1 and 2 where they turned the ball over a total of 16 turnovers (only two in Game 1) and tonight won’t even be close.
Offensive Adjustments – No More Post-Ups / Isolations, Please
Doc Rivers had two days off to figure out what adjustments need to be made. They cannot rely on an offense that consists only of Embiid posting up and James Harden isolations. The Raptors have found success by doubling Embiid every single time down the floor. Embiid struggled with double teams over the past two games and sure, some of that is thanks to his injured hand, but now it’s time to make the necessary adjustments.
The 76ers have to switch things up to survive Embiid’s injury. If they want to get Harden shots, they need to have a few designed plays up their sleeves and get him moving off-ball to find more efficient opportunities.
2 Keys: Maxey and Harris
In my opinion, the key tonight is Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris. These two have to be aggressive from start to finish. I don’t want to see Tyrese Maxey deferring to Harden or Embiid. Attack the rim relentlessly. As for Harris, anytime you have an open shot, take it. If there is a lane, attack it with aggression.
76ers @ Raptors Game 6 Odds
|Philadelphia 76ers||-1.5 (-115)||-125||O 209.5 (-115)|
|Toronto Raptors||+1.5 (-105)||+105||U 209.5 (-105)|
Listen, I know that EVERYONE in the city of Philadelphia is having PTSD about what happened during last year’s playoffs. After losing two straight games to the Toronto Raptors after being up 3-0, Sixers fans are being sent into a downward spiral of doubt.
That’s perfectly fine. However, this year is different. Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris know what needs to be done. Tonight and fuck it, even if this series goes to Game 7, are career-defining moments for Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and James Harden. They know it and both you and I know it too.
The Philadelphia 76ers are going to win this series. Period.
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Mandatory Credit: AP Photo