Jordan’s NBA Picks: 70-53 (Playoffs 16-15)
Toronto (63-27 SU & 42-46 ATS) at 76ers (57-33 SU & 44-46 ATS)
Sunday, 3:30 PM EST, ABC
Free NBA Pick: 76ers ATS 1H
Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes
You may not know much about Siakam, but he has been the Raptors’ third-most important player this season behind Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard. I could even make the argument that he has been their second-best player this postseason. Without him on Sunday, the Raptors may get wiped off the floor by a Sixers team that smells blood.
Siakam has not only been dropping 20 points per game this postseason, but he has been one of the main reasons that Tobias Harris has not carried over his hot shooting from the first to the second round. Siakam is one of the better defenders of forwards in the league and without him, the Raptors don’t have a lot of options defensively.
Sure, Kawhi Leonard will still be there as will Lowry, but Siakam has been a key part of this team. Just taking a look at his on/off splits from the regular season, the Raptors lost more than eight points per 100 possessions with Siakam off the court.
During the postseason it’s been even more evident when Siakam is off the court. The Raptors are averaging 113.9 points per 100 possessions when he is in the game, compared to just 93.0 when he is on the bench.
Toronto was also 5.5 points better on defense per 100 possessions with Siakam on the court I the regular season. While that has not been the case in the postseason, there is still enough data there to know that the Raptors are going to suffer on both ends without Siakam there to score and hold down Harris defensively.
The Sharp Pick
However, the first half spread has only moved two points, from -1 in favor of Toronto, to now favoring the Sixers by a point.
I think this is the best way to attack this game assuming Siakam gets ruled out in a few hours. Philly is already averaging 112.2 points per 100 possessions in the first halves of their playoff games. In their four home games this postseason, they have an offensive rating of 118, while there are allowing only 102.9 points per 100 possessions in the first half.
First Half Score Prediction: Raptors 51 – 76ers 55