After a story-filled first round, the NBA Playoffs marches on. One of the second round match-ups in the Eastern Conference features the 2-seed Toronto Raptors versus the 3-seed Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams had their way with their opponents in the first round. They both won their series in five games. This will be an entertaining series. Both the Raptors and the 76ers look to erase last year’s memory. They were eliminated in the second round. Which team will prevail? Let’s dissect this match-up.
Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Series Preview
Tale of the Tape
The 76ers come into the second round firing on all cylinders on offense. They averaged 122.4 points per game in the first round, which ranks second among all playoff teams. Also, their overall field goal percentage was 49.4, which ranks them third. The Raptors have not fully clicked on offense as a team yet. In the first round, the Raptors averaged 106.4 points per game, which is eight points less than their regular season average of 114.4 points per game. Also, the Raptors field goal percentage was 47.9, which trails the 76ers by nearly two percent.
However, the Raptors have fared better defensively. They held the Orlando Magic to only 92.0 points per game, which ranks first among all playoff teams, and 29.9 percent from three-point range. Also, they are one of two teams who held their opponent under 40 percent in overall field goals. The 76ers were relatively the same on defense in comparison to their regular season. They do have the advantage in rebounding. The 76ers were a plus 12.6 while the Raptors were just plus 1.2
Key Players: Raptors
In order for the Raptors to win, two players must step up to the challenge. Forward Pascal Siakam must continue his high-level of play. In the first round. Siakam continued his rise in the NBA, averaging 22.6 points per game along with 8.4 rebounds per game. He will be looked upon to take on 76ers center Joel Embiid at times and chase Tobias Harris off the three-point line. Another player who is key for the Raptors is Kyle Lowry. Lowry must prove to the world he is capable of stepping up in big moments. Lowry has been relatively quiet scoring-wise but he has shined in other areas. He leads the team in assists (8.6 per game) and in steals (2.0 per game) this postseason. Lowry must upgrade his scoring average a bit.
Key Players: 76ers
In order for the 76ers to win, their bench must play better and provide quality minutes. The 76ers starting lineup has played well so far. They have arguably the best starting lineup in the NBA. However, they are not a deep team. Center Boban Marjanovic is averaging 10.8 points per game in the postseason. He must stay in double digits. T.J. McConnell must step up in the assist department. He is only averaging 2.2 per game, which is below his regular season average. Mike Scott and James Ennis III have to knock down threes off the bench. Both of their three-point percentages dropped well below their regular season totals in the first round.
This is an even match-up. Both teams have an amazing starting lineup. However, the Raptors have owned the 76ers. In the regular season series, the Raptors won three out of the four games. A big reason for their success is their bench. The Raptors bench always produces. The 76ers bench struggles against the Raptors. That is the separation between these two teams. Toronto will win this series in six games.
CHICAGO, USA – OCTOBER 13: Kyle Lowry (7) of Toronto Raptors in action during a preseason NBA game between Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors at the United Center on October 13, 2017 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)