The pressure is mounting on the Sixers, who have looked lackluster ever since grabbing a 3-0 lead. With the series returning to Toronto for Game 6, the Raptors have a chance to force a Game 7.
Catch this game live on April 29, at 7:00 AM, Manila time.
Away: Philadelphia 76ers (3-2, 1-1 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Tyrese Maxey
- SG: James Harden
- SF: Danny Green
- PF: Tobias Harris
- C: Joel Embiid
You’ve got to respect Joel Embiid, who is playing with a torn thumb ligament and is again dealing with pain to stay on the court. He had 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes in Game 5 while shooting 7 of 15 from the field. As good as he is, the Raptors have gone to attacking him and making him defend from the perimeter, where he is a much less effective defender.
His co-star James Harden needs to step up, though, because if he plays like he did in Game 5, where he shot 4 of 11 on the way to 15 points, two rebounds, seven assists, a steal, a block and five turnovers, the game is definitely going back to Philly for a winner-takes-all contest.
What makes things even worse for the Sixers is Matisse Thybulle, who will again be unavailable in Toronto because of his vaccination status. Thybulle is an elite wing defender, and will desperately be needed against a Raptors team that fields many multi-skilled wing players.
Home: Toronto Raptors (3-2, 1-1 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Gary Trent Jr
- SG: OG Anunoby
- SF: Scottie Barnes
- PF: Pascal Siakam
- C: Khem Birch
The big conundrum for the Raptors will be Fred VanVleet’s doubtful status, as he certainly brings excellent shooting that makes them more dangerous. However, others have filled in for his absence as Nick Nurse has changed tactics to take the Sixers out of their comfort zone.
Pascal Siakam needs to continue performing like he did in Game 5, where he had 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while shooting 10 of 17 from the field. Another key player to watch is Precious Achiuwa, who took Joel Embiid to task in Game 5 and repeatedly attacked him on the way to 17 points and seven rebounds.
Scottie Barnes, who has been an inspiration as he’s been suiting up after dealing with the nasty foot injury he suffered in Game 1, played a do-it-all role in Game 5 with 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Spread: I think the Raptors force Game 7 while covering the +1.5 spread.
Over/Under: I don’t think the Sixers shoot 38.3% this time around, and think the over 210.5 hits.