Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers
Thursday 8:00 P.M. ET
Free NBA Pick: Raptors ATS
Recommended Sportsbook: Pinnacle
The Philadelphia 76ers will return home and look to take a 2-1 lead when they host the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday night. The third-seeded Sixers evened the series at one game apiece with a gritty 94-89 win Monday in Toronto.
Philadelphia could be short-handed once again, though forward Mike Scott, who has been out with a heel contusion and plantar fasciitis, did practice on Wednesday. All-Star center Joel Embiid also continues to be hampered by a sore left knee, though he remains probable. If the starters are limited, the Sixers’ bench will be crucial. In Game 2, James Ennis scored a playoff career-high 13 points while Greg Monroe backed up Embiid with 10 points and five rebounds.
The Sixers’ defense was shaky in Game 1 and terrific in Game 2 as they held the Raptors to 36.7 percent shooting, including 27 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Toronto made only 10 of 37 treys.
Kawhi Leonard led the second-seeded Raptors with 35 points and Paskal Siakam added 21 but shot just 9 of 25 from the field. The Toronto bench was mostly ineffective in Game 2, a trend that must change if it’s going to take a lead in this series. Conversely, the Raptors believe they simply missed too many shots. The Sixers’ defense might have been improved, but the Raptors missed 27 treys. Guard Danny Green misfired on a potential 3-pointer that would have tied Game 2 in the waning seconds.
The Raptors must have better games from their supporting cast if they want to regain home court advatnage in this series. Expect veteran Marc Gasol to have a bigger impact in this game and to uplift the Raptors role players and supplement some of the production from Kawhi and Siakam. The Raptors are actually favored on the road, which should be an indication of how much more talent they have than the Sixers, bettors should be confident in rolling with the Raptors in Game 3.