When a team’s down 3-0, there’s usually a sense of dread hanging over the fourth game in the series, like the somber hour of mingling that goes on before a funeral service. That doesn’t quite seem apply to the Raptors going into what could be their final game of the season on Saturday afternoon.
No one is kidding themselves. History says this series is done, regardless of when the final blow actually takes place. You wouldn’t go so far to suggest that there’s outright optimism that the Raptors can be the first team to mount a comeback and win a series after dropping the first three games, but you can forgive them for hanging onto a tiny glimmer of hope considering the circumstances.
Toronto did after all play its best game of the series on Wednesday, and lost more or less to a shot making clinic by and otherwise well-defended Joel Embiid, whose since been revealed to have a torn thumb ligament, which seems important, if not for this series then the rest of the East playoffs. Throw in the fact that Sixers coach Doc Rivers is the foremost lead-blower among NBA coaches through the ages, and the potential return of Scottie Barnes to the lineup (he was deemed a game-time decision 100 minutes before tip), and there’s reason to think the Raptors can at least steal one on their home floor to heap a little extra pressure on Philly’s shoulders going back stateside for Game 5.
Regardless of the outcome, Game 4 is an opportunity for the young Raptors to marinate in those playoff juices a little more before heading into a summer of development. Here’s all you need to know ahead of Saturday’s matinee.
Where to Watch
TSN (Canada) & TNT (US) @ 2pm ET
Philadelphia — James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid
Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes
Philadelphia — Charles Bassey (shoulder — OUT), Matisse Thybulle (unforced error — OUT)
Toronto — Scottie Barnes (ankle — AVAILABLE!)