76ers vs. Raptors playoff preview: Toronto's plan to stop Embiid, Harden's production among things to watch

The No. 4 Philadelphia 76ers and No. 5 Toronto Raptors will take on in the preliminary of the 2022 NBA playoffs. The Sixers ended up the routine season with a 51-31 record, while the Raptors went 48-34. For what it deserves, Toronto won the regular-season series over the Sixers, 3-1.

The 2 groups have actually fulfilled in the postseason two times formerly, both times in the conference semifinals. Philadelphia bested Toronto in 2001, while Toronto got some vengeance in 2019. Both of those series went the complete 7 video games, so if this year’s series is anything like the previous 2, we can anticipate a fight. 

Here’s a take a look at the complete schedule and 3 primary stories for the best-of-seven series in between Philly and Toronto. 

(4) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (5) Toronto Raptors 

All times Eastern

  • Game 1:  76ers 131, Raptors 111
  • Game 2: 76ers 112, Raptors 97
  • Game 3: 76ers 104, Raptors 101 (OT)
  • Game 4: Raptors 110, 76ers 102
  • Game 5* (at PHI):  Monday, April 25 | TBD | TELEVISION:  TBD
  • Game 6* (at TOR): Thursday, April 28 | TBD | TELEVISION:  TBD
  • Game 7* (at PHI): Saturday, April 30 | TBD | TELEVISION:  TBD

*If essential 

Featured Game | Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors

1. The effect of Thybulle’s lacks 

The Sixers will lack their finest border protector for each away video game in the series due to Canada’s limitation standards relating to COVID-19. Matisse Thybulle is not completely immunized, and therefore is not able to take a trip to Toronto with his colleagues. This indicates he will miss out on Games 3, 4 and 6 (if essential). The apparent concern here is just how much of an effect will Thybulle’s lack have on the series? 

We’ll learn the response to that quickly enough, however his lack definitely has the possible to be quite impactful. The Raptors have a number of powerful border gamers, and the Sixers aren’t specifically deep when it pertains to trustworthy wing protectors behind Thybulle. Danny Green, Thybulle’s replacement in the beginning lineup, is still strong defensively in spurts, however he can’t be taken a look at as a lock-down protector at this moment in his profession. Outside of Embiid, nobody else on Philadelphia’s lineup is understood for their protective expertise, so that needs to be an issue for Philadelphia. The whole group will require to step up on that end in order to mask not having Thybulle. 

Plus, having a gamer in and out of the lineup isn’t perfect for connection, as we saw with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn this season. Teams with champion goals usually attempt to develop stated connection in the preliminary and having a crucial factor just readily available part-time definitely does not assist that. The Sixers might be talented enough to get rid of the circumstance, however it’s not something that a group wishes to need to handle at this moment in the season.

2. Will the genuine James Harden please stand? 

James Harden appeared in 21 video games for the Sixers throughout the routine season given that he was obtained in February, and with such a little sample size it’s still rather hard to inform precisely how he fits with his brand-new franchise, and along with Embiid.

During those video games, Harden balanced 10.5 helps — a number that is elite, and in line, with his production from the previous a number of seasons. He regularly produced open chances for Embiid and the rest of the Sixers by merely inhabiting opposing defenses’ attention and after that making the best pass at the correct time. His playmaking has actually been a huge benefit for a Sixers group that was desperate for a boundary developer. 

But while Harden’s playmaking capability has actually been front and center in Philadelphia, his scoring has actually taken a rear seat. He balanced simply 21 points per efficiency with the Sixers throughout the routine season — his least expensive typical output in over a years — and scored over 30 points simply when. This is a man who balanced 36 points a night simply a number of seasons earlier. While the Sixers are definitely delighted with Harden’s assist-ability, they likewise obtained him to be a trusted, secondary scorer along with Embiid, therefore far because function, he has actually been irregular, to state the least. 

More worrying than the raw numbers is how Harden has actually looked. He was never ever always an athletic high-flyer, however he has actually looked slow sometimes with the Sixers, and he has had an obvious absence of burst. He’s had a difficult time blowing previous protectors on the border, and an even harder go completing over protectors around the rim. Without that break as an offending aggressor that he showed for a years in Houston, Harden has actually been required to rely greatly on 3-pointers and complimentary tosses for his point production. The issue with that is he’s not shooting specifically well from long variety with the Sixers either, as he transformed simply 32 percent of his threes with the group throughout the routine season. 

Some observers have actually declared that he’s “washed,” while others recommend he’s still handling a sticking around hamstring injury. Others state he was merely biding his time throughout the routine season in an effort to get in postseason play as fresh as possible. So that pleads the concern: Which Harden are the Sixers going to get in the playoffs? Will it be the Harden from the routine season, or the Harden who developed himself as one of the most deadly offending gamers the league has ever seen over the previous years? Or possibly an in-between variation? Whatever the response is, it will go a long method towards identifying how Philadelphia fares in this year’s playoffs.   

3. Toronto’s technique to safeguarding Embiid

The Raptors are a deep, skilled group. But something they do not have is an excellent private match for Joel Embiid. Like most groups throughout the league’s landscape, Toronto does not have any single gamer who can matching Embiid’s mix of physicality and athleticism, and therefore they are required to protect the MVP prospect by means of plan and committee. 

What this indicates is that Toronto will toss a range of protectors and protections at Embiid. Sometimes it will be a tough double-team, often it will be a softer double, while other times it might be a zone. This technique is developed to keep Embiid from getting too comfy versus any particular protection — to keep him on his toes, as they state.

 This is one location where we’ll get an excellent take a look at the chess match in between Doc Rivers and Nick Nurse. It will be very intriguing to see precisely how the Raptors decide to approach safeguarding Embiid, and how Embiid — and the Sixers — respond.



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