Saturday’s 136-111 loss in Philly was just... not it. Players were dropping like flies — to fouls, to injuries, to illness. While the 76ers showing wasn’t an all-time masterclass in basketball, it was enough to get the job done against a team that just looked more depleted as the game progressed.
Tonight, they will be back for Game Two, hoping to show a little more fight. With Scottie Barnes, Thad Young, and Gary Trent Jr. all looking doubtful for Monday’s game at least, the Raptor will have to dig a little deeper than they intended.
Unfortunately, not even the betting odds are in the Raptors favour going into Monday’s match up, the 76ers Moneyline sits at -305 odds for them to win — BUT it’s not over ‘til it’s over.
Raptors: Scottie Barnes - Doubtful (Ankle), Thad Young - Doubtful (Thumb), Gary Trent Jr. - Doubtful (Non-COVID Illness)
76ers: Jaden Springer - Questionable (Knee), Charles Bassey - OUT (Shoulder)
Catch the Raptors and 76ers in Game Two of Round One of the NBA Playoffs at 7:30PM ET on TSN.
Next Man Up
After a “too good to be true” clean injury report going into Game One, things have... changed. Game One saw Thad Young sprain his thumb early on, as well as Scottie Barnes be on the unfortunate end of an unintentional Embiid foot stomping, causing an apparent ankle sprain.
Both players are listed as doubtful for Monday’s game, as well as Gary Trent Jr., who has reportedly been dealing with a “non-COVID illness” for most of the last week. He played Saturday, but was visibly unwell both on the court and off.
Absolutely unfortunate circumstances in this series, as Trent Jr provides much needed points and defensive energy, Scottie has blossomed from a Rookie to a trusted starter, and Thad Young’s veteran presence helps off the bench.
Another unfortunate part of game one was the fouls — BOTH Fred VanVleet and Chris Boucher fouled out. Now with the roster missing some key players, no one can get into foul trouble without seriously impacting the rotation.
The Raptors will have to adopt the “Next Man Up” mentality big time as players who were not intended to be part of the Playoff Rotation need to step up.
Tyrese Maxey exploded on Saturday scoring 38 points against the Raptors in a new career high. He was unstoppable, getting buckets from everywhere on the court. While the Raptors defence was certainly off in that game, it’s still something to consider heading into Game Two.
Even if the Raptors defence significantly improves, the confidence Maxey will have, plus the rambunctious Philly crowd, will only fuel him to try and repeat his performance. The Raptors need to adjust to better guard him.
Bring the Energy
It’s a hard situation to begin with — the underdog team, the hostile crowd with a personal playoffs vendetta against your team, the injuries. Yet, the Raptors will have to dig deep to find it in them to bring the defensive energy into the game Monday.
Saturday’s game was just OFF on so many levels, and you could tell. Hopefully some adjustments and some rest will allow the Raptors to get out there and forget their disappointing performance in Game One.
We all know the Raptors can play better — we’ve SEEN it this season. There is still plenty of time for them to get back into this series and show the league what kind of team they really are.
Here’s hoping for some speedy recoveries, a good defensive game, LESS FOULS in Game Two. Tip-off is at 7:30PM ET.