The Raptors and 76ers split Games 1 and 2, then split Games 3 and 4, followed by home blowouts in Game 5 and 6. We’re talking about 2001, of course, and that series ended with a missed buzzer-beater by Vince Carter. Come Sunday, we’ll find out if the symmetry to the ‘01 series will come full circle.
For now, we’ve got three agonizingly long days to lament over a missed opportunity to eliminate a pesky foe. To tide you over, have a listen to the latest episode of That’s A Rap.
On The Latest Episode:
Ben Simmons finally showed up! The All-Star’s aggression was akin to Kyle Lowry’s transformation in Game 4, and adds an extra wrinkle to how Nick Nurse strategizes for Sunday.
Raptors did not close quarters well, getting outscored 16-6, 9-2, and 18-6, in each of the first three quarters, respectively. On the bright side, the Raptors are destined to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Toronto’s lack of focus and drive, combined with Philadelphia’s desperation, led to the Raptors’ demise. On the plus side, Toronto worked hard all season to gain home court advantage, which is paramount for a Game 7.
The Sixers had a case of the runs (the good ones). Philly’s ability to get timely offensive rebounds kept the team, and the crowd, energized throughout the game.
While Toronto regressed back to the sub-par three-point shooting that has plagued them for most of these playoffs, they continue to generate open looks. It reads like a cop-out, but the law of averages says that those shots will eventually start falling.
Both teams know each other inside and out. The version of Simmons that shows up on Sunday — the over-matched version we saw in the first five games or the aggressive point-centre from Game Six — will go a long way in dictating how well the Sixers perform on Sunday.
Raptor fans, get all of the anxiety out of your system now, because our team has the recipe to blow out the Sixers in Game 7! Experience in Game 7s is overwhelmingly in the Raptors favour. There are 12 players who’ve averaged at least 20 minutes in this series — 6 on each side. Of those 12, six have played in at least three Game 7s: Marc Gasol, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, Lowry, and JJ Redick.
Bring on Game 7!
2:00 - Numbers (I found positive ones!)
5:00 - Glass half-full approach
7:20 - Glass was actually half-empty
12:55 - Adjustments needed for Sunday (and beyond)
17:35 - Predictions