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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors Game Preview 04/29/19

The third-seeded Philadelphia 76ers and the second-seeded Toronto Raptors will lock horns in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada, Monday night. The Raptors lead the series after a comfortable 108-95 victory as 6.5-point favorites in the opening clash, and the hosts are listed as strong favorites to increase their lead. NBA: Monday, April 29, 2019, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada, 8:00 PM ET

The Sixers’ stars have to step up and find the way to damage the Raptors

The Philadelphia 76ers (55-33; 42-46 ATS) were easily beaten 108-95 in Game 1 and will need a much better offensive performance if they want to bounce back tonight. The Sixers shot just 39.3% from the field and 34.4% from downtown while making 23 assists and 16 turnovers. They lost all four quarters which tells a lot about their overall display and trailed by nine points at the break, allowing 61 first-half points to the Raptors. Also, the Sixers missed seven of their 21 free-throw attempts and surrendered 21 fast break points which are unacceptable in the playoffs.

J.J. Redick led the way for the Sixers with 5-of-12 shooting from beyond the 3-point line, but all Phila’s stars completely disappointed. Joel Embiid accounted for 16 points on terrible 5-of-18 shooting from the field; Jimmy Butler had ten points on 4-of-12 shooting, while Ben Simmons added 14 points and just three assists. Tobias Harris had a solid night with 14 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists, but Harris had a +/- of -23. In the first round against the Nets, Philadelphia was averaging 117.8 points per game on 47.7% shooting from the field and 33.7% from beyond the arc, allowing 111.4 points in a return on 42.0% shooting from the field.

The Raptors dominated the 76ers on the back of Kawhi’s tremendous performance

The Toronto Raptors (63-25; 41-46-1 ATS) completely outplayed the Sixers on both sides of the floor and fully deserved a victory in Game 1. The Raptors played tough defense, while they made 51.9% of their field goals and 33.3% of their 3-pointers, making 21 assists and just ten turnovers. Still, there is room for improvement, as the Raptors allowed 13 offensive rebounds to their rivals, while the second unit combined for just ten points. Interestingly, only two Raptors scored points in double figures, but it was just enough to beat the Sixers.

Kawhi Leonard was incredible with 45 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 16-of-23 from the field and 10-of-11 from the charity stripe. The Claw was averaging 26.6 points in the regular season, but he exploded Saturday night. Pascal Siakam posted 29 points and seven rebounds, shooting 12-of-15 from the field, while Kyle Lowry added nine points and eight assists. In the first round against the Magic, Toronto was tallying 106.7 points per game on 48.5% shooting from the field and 36.3% from beyond the arc, surrendering just 92.0 points in a return on 38.8% shooting from the field.

Trends:

Philadelphia 76ers:

•     0-14 SU and 3-11 ATS in the last 14 road meetings with Toronto

  • 3-12 ATS in the last 15 road matchups with the Atlantic Division

Toronto Raptors:

•     15-3 SU and 14-4 ATS in the last 18 encounters with Philadelphia

•     31-0 SU and 25-6 ATS in the last 31 home meetings with the Atlantic Division

The Winner Prediction

The Sixers are looking for a win in Canada since 2012, losing 14 straight encounters with the Raptors on the road. They covered the spread just three times in that span. Also, the Sixers have won only three of their previous 18 meetings with the Raptors at any location, covering four times in the process. Considering the betting trends, we’ll see another win by the Raptors. Philadelphia needs to speed up the tempo and make open shots, but it will be a tall task against the Raptors’ defense, so I’m backing the hosts to win Game 2 and cover. The Raptors also need more from their role players, as Kawhi cannot score 40+ points in each game, but their defensive job looks impressive at the moment.

The Pick: Toronto Raptors -6.5 (-110)  

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