Gameday: Raptors @ 76ers Game 2, April 18

Game one was demoralizing for the Raptors in numerous ways but it’s time to turn the page.

Toronto will most likely take the court in Game two without Scottie Barnes and Thaddeus Young due to injuries, along with Gary Trent Jr because of a non Covid related illness. So much for the clean bill of health! Update: Barnes has been ruled out of the game already and is in a walking boot. 7:00 pm EST: Young and Trent are available.

Nick Nurse started the small lineup featuring his five best guys in the series opener, but it was actually a bigger lineup that the Raptors used to beat Philly twice after the all-star break. Both Precious Achiuwa and Khem Birch started in those games because Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby were out. Does Nurse return to a similar formula with two starters down again?

Three Keys

1. A faster start

It’s become a trademark for the Raptors to fall behind in games before they get going recently. Toronto is a -44 in the first quarter over the last five games, including Saturday. That’s an average of -8.8 points which is magnified in the playoffs where the best players are on the court longer, minimizing opportunities to make a comeback.

2. Cleaning up defensive principles

Toronto shot nearly 50 percent from the field and scored 111 points but still lost by 20 in Game one. That was because the Raptors had their worst defensive half in franchise playoff history during the first two quarters. It’s explained beautifully below.

Tyrese Maxey’s quickness and outside shooting was a two headed monster for the Raptors to deal with. Maxey and Tobias Harris combined for 64 points. That’s way too much while also trying to contain Joel Embiid and James Harden. Many of those points were a casualty of what the video explains.

3. How will the game be called?

Nick Nurse mentioned after Saturday’s game that his players would beat Embiid to spots, only to be bowled over with no consequences. There’s no better example than Embiid vs Birch in the second quarter.

It’s typical of a coach to toe the line calling out officiating and player tendencies to plant that seed for the refs to notice next game. We’ll have to wait and see if those kind of plays backfire against the Sixers tonight. Some games over the weekend allowed players to be much more physical than the Raptors were. Depends on the crew.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7:30pm EDT | TV: TSN 1/3/4, TNT | Radio: Sportsnet 590

Toronto Raptors Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

@ 76ers L 131-111
@ Knicks L 105-94
vs Rockets W 117-115
vs 76ers W 119-114
vs Hawks W 118-108

Probable Lineup

PF: P. Achiuwa, C. Boucher
SF: P. Siakam, Y. Watanabe
C: K. Birch
PG: F. VanVleet, M. Flynn, D. Banton
SG: O. Anunoby, A. Brooks, I. Bonga, S. Mykhailiuk

Injuries

Thaddeus Young, PFDay-To-Day moreYoung was diagnosed Sunday with a hyperextended left thumb and is listed as doubtful Monday for Game 2 of the Raptors’ first-round playoff series with the 76ers, Eric Koreen of The Athletic reports.
Scottie Barnes, SFDay-To-Day moreBarnes was diagnosed with a sprained left ankle after undergoing an MRI on Sunday and is listed as doubtful for Game 2 of the Raptors’ first-round series with the 76ers on Monday, Eric Koreen of The Athletic reports.
Gary Trent Jr., SGDay-To-Day moreHead coach Nick Nurse said Trent is considered doubtful to play Monday in Game 2 of the Raptors’ first-round series with the 76ers due to a non-COVID-19-related illness, Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com reports.

Philadelphia 76ers Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

vs Raptors W 131-111
vs Pistons W 118-106
vs Pacers W 133-120
@ Raptors L 119-114
@ Pacers W 131-122

Probable Lineup

PF: T. Harris, P. Reed, P. Millsap
SF: D. Green, G. Niang
C: J. Embiid, D. Jordan, C. Bassey
PG: J. Harden, S. Milton
SG: T. Maxey, M. Thybulle, F. Korkmaz, I. Joe

Injuries

Charles Bassey, COut moreBassey (shoulder) will remain out Monday for Game 2 of the 76ers’ first-round playoff series with the Raptors.
Jaden Springer, GDay-To-Day

Betting Lines

torphi
+7.5Spread-7.5
+250Money Line-320
Over/Under
217.5

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