A couple weeks out from Kawhi Leonard’s return to Toronto, the Raptors have cause to celebrate one of the most cruel things their former superstar did during the run to last season’s championship. Philly’s in town, which means it’s time to go and re-watch every video featuring the Leonard buzzer beater set to dramatic music in existence. If the Raptors are cool and smart, they’ll run clips of the shot during every stoppage in tonight’s game. Nothing wrong with some light psychological torment.
Of course, this is not the same Sixers team that wept its way off the court last may. Gone are Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick, in are Al Horford and Josh Richardson, leaving the Sixers with an intensely weird and bloody enormous starting five.
“They lost a couple great players in Butler and Redick and they replaced them with two really good players,” said Nick Nurse when asked about Philly’s off-season changes before the game. “Al Horford would be like a Marc Gasol for us. He’s a veteran, he’s smart, great team guy, makes good plays, good passer, versatile, can shoot, seems to make big shots in the guts of the game. And Richardson’s just a talent that can score.”
Toronto’s very different than it was at the end of Game 7, too ... obviously. And injuries have continued to change the shape of the post-Leonard version of the team. Nurse will have to adapt his rotation even further tonight, as it was revealed that Matt Thomas has a fracture in his left middle finger. Serge Ibaka remains out as well — Nurse suggested his return could come this weekend.
So fire up The Shot on Youtube, get the Avengers theme music, or My Heart Will Go On, or In the Air Tonight or all three queued up, and dig in as the shorthanded Raps look to move to 6-2 since Ibaka and Kyle Lowry went down.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet @ 7:30pm ET
Philadelphia — A Coward, Not Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Joel Embiid
Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Philadelphia — Kyle O’Quinn (calf — out), Furkan Korkmaz (ankle — available)
Toronot — Kyle Lowry (thumb — out), Serge Ibaka (ankle — out), Patrick McCaw (knee — out), Stanley Johnson (groin — out), Matt Thomas (finger — out), Dewan Hernandez (hand — out)