Toronto is heading into Philadelphia to face off against the 76ers for the second time this season and the second time in less than a week. In their last matchup it was a 114-107 loss for Toronto so hopefully the outcome is different this time around. Last game, Toronto could not contain Tyrese Maxey or Joel Embiid as they combined for 68 points with 34 apiece so the emphasis will definitely be on containing those two better.
Toronto is coming off of an excellent game last night vs the Milwaukee Bucks and the defensive scheme they used for Milwaukee can also translate into the game plan for Philadelphia. Jakob Poetl can anchor the defense and you have Scottie Barnes or OG provide the initial resistance and really make life tough for Embiid. Maxey has had a stellar start to the season but quite frankly, if you were to blitz him, he does not have the passing chops to handle that, or we haven’t seen evidence that he can handle that sort of attention over a long period of time. Blitz his pick and rolls, really get the ball out of his hands so he cant use that freakish speed to get downhill, and Jakob should be able to contain any leaks at the rim. The defensive game plan is there for Toronto, they have so many great defenders all over the floor, especially with Scottie Barnes being much improved on that end as well they have the defensive infrastructure to deal with offensive superstars, as they showed last night.
Toronto’s issues are largely on the offensive end this season. Scottie Barnes is the one player who has been great on offense every game but other than that it’s been a mixed bag from the Raptors. Philadelphia doesnt have premier wing defenders so Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam should have easy matchups all game long because their wing defenders are Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tobias Harris who arent bad but they aren’t great on defense either. Last time around vs Philadelphia Pascal took a mere 8 shots in the game, that can’t happen, your best player should never ever take 8 shots in a game, especially with a favorable matchup during said game. Pascal should be getting a lot of empty side pick and roll actions so he can attack open space and so he can involve Joel Embiid in many actions and tire him out. Embiid is the main cog of the 76ers offense and if he is having to be heavily involved in Toronto’s offensive actions then over the course of the game his stamina will be impacted negatively. Not only should it be Pascal but it should be Dennis, Scottie and occasionally OG as well, going at Embiid in screening actions.
Transition has once again been Toronto’s ace in the hole this season and it will have to be prevalent tonight as well. Nobody can expect Toronto to get 9 threes between Barnes and Siakam again but transition offense is something very replicable game by game and with the way Scottie and Dennis have been pushing the ball it should be a big part of their offense tonight as well.
Toronto’s bench will need to step up as well, Otto Porter Jr found himself back in the rotation and his minutes were good and need to continue to be good. Gradey Dick often finds himself open, keeps advantages alive, positions himself well on defense, great stuff from a rookie. Precious is questionable but his minutes would be very important defensively when Jakob goes to the bench.
This is not a game that Toronto will be favored in but this is a game that they can win, containing Embiid should be priority number one and if that happens then they can 100 percent win this game. Pascal taking more than 8 shots will definitely bode well for the team, but it will fall down to Toronto’s shooting to really get the job done tonight. Without the fear of floor spacers actually making shots then the actions Toronto runs will bear little to nothing and the halfcourt offense will once again be rough. Either way, it should be a fun one in Philadelphia tonight.
Tip-Off: 7:00 pm EDT | TV: Sportsnet 1, Sportsnet 1 4K
Jaden Mcdaniels is out with a calf injury
PG: Tyrese Maxey, Patrick Beverly
SG: De’Anthony Melton, Jaden Springer
SF: Kelly Oubre Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Marcus Morris Sr.
PF: Tobias Harris, Robert Covington
C: Joel Embiid, Paul Reed, Mo Bamba
Christian Koloko is out with an illness. Precious Achiuwa is questionable with a groin injury
PG: Dennis Schroder, Malachi Flynn, Markquis Nowell,
SG: O.G. Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr, Gradey Dick, Javon Freeman-Liberty
SF: Scottie Barnes, Jalen McDaniels, Otto Porter Jr, Garrett Temple, Ron Harper Jr.
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young,
C: Jakob Poeltl,
Philadelphia is favored by 8.5 O/U is 215.5.