To quote the great Muhammad Ali, no stranger to physical altercations and the trash talking that comes along with them, the Raptors and Sixers have to get it on because they don’t get along. Ever since their paths crossed in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, a seven-game war we’ll never forget thanks to The Shot, each and every contest between these two teams as some wild and intense significance. This Wednesday, it’s on once again.
For starters, the Raptors and Sixers are currently in the three- and six-seeds, respectively, which would put them on a collision course for the first round of the playoffs. For second, the season series is tied at 1-1 heading into Wednesday’s game, and while a tiebreaker situation between these two teams is unlikely (though you never know!), bragging rights carries some weight. There’s a case to be made that the Raptors are firmly lodged in the Philly’s head right now, and another win could continue to cement that feeling. Third, it feels nice to watch Toronto trend up with their whole squad healthy while also monitoring the continued struggles of the Sixers, who are 5-5 in their last ten games.
Could those stuggles be because of the absence of Joel Embiid? The Cameroonian big man had surgery on his hand on January 10th and has missed the last six contests. The Sixers, however, have gone 4-2 in those games, which stands in stark contrast to the four-game losing streak they found themselves on to begin 2020. My point here is that while Embiid is still a super important part of Philly’s team — perhaps the absolute most important part — his numbers have been down across the board. And, most significantly, the Sixers do not look like the world beaters they were touted to be at the start of the season.
Plus, it would be remiss of me to not mention something else here: Embiid or no Embiid, the Raptors matchup well against the Sixers. They have Marc Gasol back and raring to go; they’ve got Fred VanVleet on one; and they’ve grown increasingly comfortable with their bigger lineup combinations for just such matchups. Even the absence of Kawhi isn’t enough to shake Toronto’s confidence right now.
Still, this is why we watch the games. And to do that, once again we’re coming at you with the connection from StubHub for tickets. Check out this link for availability in advance of Raptors vs. Sixers this Wednesday — The Shot may not happen again (or Embiid scoring zero points), but it’s sure to be one hell of a show.
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
When: Wednesday, January 22nd at 7:00pm EST
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