Every loss the Raptors experience this year feels like a referendum — even as we point out all the things that don’t suck about them. When Toronto loses, we have to go to great lengths to understand why. Was it the coaching decisions? Was it the rotations? Was such and such player doing the right thing or the wrong thing? Was it the dang referees? We ask these questions, and we decide — even if we won’t admit it aloud.
The funny part about all of this is that of course the team itself, the Raptors, has moved on. They can’t let one loss, or even five losses (the team is 20-5) get them down. The events of Monday vs. the Nuggets are long gone; we’re onto the Sixers now, and that means talking about Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and of course Jimmy Butler. The Sixers have other players of course, J.J. Redick, Wilson Chandler, Amir Johnson, and T.J. McConnell chief among them. Still, that aforementioned trio are the bellwether of the operation. As Philly’s Big 3 go, so goes the team.
Fortunately for Toronto, as noted pre-game by their coach Nick Nurse, the Raps are uniquely suited to grappling with them — what with Danny Green, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and one Kawhi Leonard ready to deal. The mystery here is how the Raps slow down Embiid — and for that, given the fact that Serge Ibaka is starting, we’ll just have to wait and see about the results.
In the meantime, Sully Akbari came through this morning with the full Raptors-Sixers preview. The updated details, such as they are, are below. Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet One, 8:00pm EST
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
Philadelphia – Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler, Wilson Chandler, Joel Embiid
Toronto – Norman Powell, [long pause] and Malachi Richardson
Philadelphia – Markelle Fultz, Justin Patton, Zhaire Smith, players are unsafe in Philly