What Does The Toronto Raptors Need to Do in Order to beat the Philadelphia 76ers?

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As from my previous blog post, I am predicting the Toronto Raptors to beat the Philadelphia 76ers in 6 games. But these games will be hard fought, it won’t be as easy as when the Raptors walked all over the Orlando Magic in the 1st round.

These are the things that I think the Toronto Raptors have to do to give itself an upper hand to beat the 76ers in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs. It won’t be easy, 76ers has lots of talent but they do have flaws.

  • The Raptors starting 5 have to be healthy and the starters have to communicate and be as committed in playing solid defense like they did against the Orlando Magic for the entire series. Not just for a game or two.
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  • The 76ers have loads of talent in its starting five from Ben Simmons; J. J. Redick; Jimmy Butler; Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid. However, in my opinion, they have too much talent in the starting 5 that they are still trying to figure out how to jell and play as a team. They are still trying to determine how to distribute the ball and sharing the rock and who is going to take more shots and so forth. With so many cooks in the kitchen, this is the major factor that gives the Raptors an edge where everyone on the Toronto team are willing to work together and understand and communicate and make unselfish plays.
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  • Marc Gasol has to be healthy throughout this series and for the rest of the playoffs. Gasol is the only traditional big centre the Raptors have on the roster. Serge is only 6’9″ and Chris Boucher is too lanky. Meanwhile, the 76ers have lots of tall and massive centres that Gasol has to hold his ground.
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  • Is Joel Embiid healthy enough to be effective? Embiid missed a few games during the 1st round of the playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets. Will he play every game against the Raptors? And how effective is he against a veteran centre in Marc Gasol who has a high basketball IQ, a good passer, could shoot 3’s and defend? This will be one of Joel’s biggest test in the playoffs
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  • If Kyle Lowry struggles again, what if he scores 0 points or score less than 10 points and missing all the 3s again? What will Nick Nurse do in the 4th quarter? Will Nick Nurse be gutsy enough to bench Lowry and put in Fred Van Vleet or Jeremy Lin or whomever is having a better game? Everyone has a bad night, but if they do have a bad night, they shouldn’t be on the floor and take away the chance for his team to win that game.
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  • Kawhi has Ben Simmons numbers during the regular season. Everyone knows Simmons don’t have a reliable shot, he can’t shoot a jumper and he can’t shoot 3’s. Can Kawhi, Lowry, Siakam contain the tall point guard and stop him from driving into the lane?
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  • Both Coach Nick Nurse and Coach Brett Brown aren’t super elite coaches, I am still not convince on both coaches comes the playoffs, so they are pretty much cancel each other out. The questions come down to…how creative both coaches in their coaching adjustments during games, the set plays, strategies and matchups. What play they employ after a time out? When teams have so much talent and every point counts, coaching will be an important intangible that will help their team wins. When the game is on the line, what play does Nick Nurse draws? The predictable ISO Kawhi? Or give the ball to Siakam to drive to the hoop? Or Marc Gasol inside the paint to score? What about giving it to the reliable Danny Green to drain the 3pter to seal the deal? My recommendation to Nick Nurse is that you still have to give most of the plays to your best player which is Kawhi, but sometimes, mix the strategy up a bit so that the opposition doesn’t know who is going to take the shot, make it more creative and unpredictable.
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  • Joel and Butler are hot heads, so it’s important Serge Ibaka or Norman Powell don’t fall into their traps and get into push and shoving match and get ejected out of the game. Stay compose, bring up the intensity and just stay cool. Don’t let them to stir the shit and throw the Raptors off their game.
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  • Raptors need to play hard in every game but they must win game 1 at home. It’s time to change the old misfortune and change the dynamic.

MoVernie Fun Fact: Did you know that Raptors Kyle Lowry is born and raised in Philadelphia. Let’s see how he flares during this series.

Quite honestly. Of course I would like my beloved Raptors to prevail and beat the 76ers and move to the next round, but no one knows what’s going to happen. This is a big test for the Raptors to stick together, play as a team, ball movement and make unselfish plays. Limit the ISOs and really play team ball. Whoever has the best clear shot, take it. I wish the Toronto Raptors all the best in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs.

Let’s go Raptors!

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