Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors 2022 NBA First Round Playoffs: Game Six Preview

Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors 2022 NBA First Round Playoffs: Game Six Preview

NBA Game Previews

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors 2022 NBA First Round Playoffs: Game Six Preview

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Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Things have officially become interesting in this series between the two middle teams of the eastern conference playoff standings. Philadelphia was riding high after two dominant victories at home that showcased Tyrese Maxey’s breakout and over 48% three-point shooting as a team.

Then it looked even better for the Sixers as they took the back-breaking 3-0 series lead behind 33 points and the game-winning shot from Joel Embiid. No team has ever come back from down 3-0 in NBA playoff history. However, as Nick Nurse put it, “If it gets to 3-1, it’s not 3-0 anymore. And 3-1 has been done before.” Toronto is halfway there with a home win and a surprising road upset to send the series right back to Jurassic Park. Can the Raptors keep up their bounceback ways or will the Sixers end it right here? 

How Philadelphia can win: 

There’s no other way to put it, the Sixers must show grit and respond to the Raptor’s adjustments. They had a tremendous amount of success at positioning Embiid for one on one isolations and letting him work. However, with the Raptor’s adjustments (will discuss those later) Philly has yet to counter. This was evident in game five as Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey failed to play off the attention the Harden and Embiid duo garners. They must be able to capitalize on their gravity by hitting their outside shots, attacking hard closeouts, and keeping the ball moving. This has and will continue to be Philly’s biggest point of emphasis on offense. The other major factor is in the rebounding category. Philly outrebounded Toronto by 7.6 rpg in games 1-3. In games, 4-5 that margin has shifted to the Raptor’s favor by 4 rpg. 

How Toronto can win: 

There were small seeds of success for Toronto when it came to guarding Embiid early in the series. Stretches where they flustered the Sixers’ offense but they couldn’t capitalize on the other end and all hope seemed lost after game three. However, the Raptors have built on those seeds and have constructed an effective game plan for Embiid and company. This includes sending bodies his way when Embiid gets his typical isolation touches in the mid-range. This didn’t work before because Philly’s “others” burned Toronto. But the Raptors rotations and closeouts on defense have sharpened up and it’s resulted in some sustained success in this series. If the Raptors want to make history they’ll need to continue to contain the Sixers “others” while limiting Harden and Embiid’s offensive production. 

The Spread Via FanDuel: 

Sixers: -1.5 (-125 ML) 

Raptors: +1.5 (+105 ML) 

Final Prediction: Raptors 110, Sixers 107

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