Gameday: Raptors vs 76ers, December 22

Can the Raptors take down Nick Nurse?

Well, well, well would you look who it is? For the third time this season, Toronto gets another shot at defeating former head coach Nick Nurse as they fell short the last two times. It’s a tough ask as Philadelphia is currently third in the Eastern Conference and holds the fourth-best record in the league.

76ers scope (19-8, 3rd in East | Offensive Rating: 2nd | Defensive Rating: 2nd)

Last five games: vs Minnesota W 127-113, vs Chicago L 108-104, at Charlotte W 135-82, vs Detroit W 124-92, at Pistons W 129-111

Who would have thought the 76ers would look much better without James Harden? They rank second in both offensive and defensive ratings and have also won seven out of their last ten games. Last year’s M.V.P. Joel Embiid is coming off of a 51-point outing so he’s got some momentum going into this contest. As you can see though, there are a lot of easy opponents in there over the last five games and just one game on the road. Tyrese Maxey is enjoying a career year as he’s averaging just over 26 points a game and is a certified Raptors killer so watch out for him. Who could forget Patrick Beverley’s comments on his podcast when he said Toronto had no dogs on their team, even more motivation for the Raptors.

Raptors scope (11-16, 12th in East | Offensive Rating: 21st | Defensive Rating: 15th)

Last five games: vs Denver L 113-104, vs Hornets W 114-99, vs Hawks L 125-104, vs Hawks W 135-128, at Knicks L 136-130

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Raptors as they’ve only won three out of their last ten games. The last five games don’t look too bad but the losses are starting to add up in Toronto. Somehow the defence ranks middle of the pack at 15 but there have been a lot of high-scoring games recently. Scottie Barnes has been one of the only bright spots of the season as he’s making a push to become an all-star for the first time in his young career. A lot of fans are looking for a change in the starting five and we’ve yet to see any adjustments from coach Darko’s rotations. A win tonight over their old head coach and a top contender so far would lift the spirits of the team and fanbase.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7:00 pm EST | TV: Sportsnet | Radio: SN 590

Raptors Lineup

Christian Koloko (illness) is out yet again.

PG: Dennis Schroder, Malachi Flynn

SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr. Gradey Dick

SF: O.G. Anunoby, Otto Porter Jr, Jalen McDaniels, Garrett Temple

PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young

C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa

76ers Lineup

The 76ers have four players listed as game-time decisions. De’Anthony Melton, who usually is their starting shooting guard is listed with a thigh injury. Robert Covington and Mo Bamba are listed with illnesses and Patrick Beverley has a heel injury. Nicolas Batum is the only player who is out for sure as of now with a hamstring injury. He’s usually in the starting five for the 76ers too, so they could be without two starters for this contest.

PG: Tyrese Maxey, Jaden Springer

SG: Danuel House, Furkan Korkmaz

SF: Kelly Oubre, KJ Martin

PF: Tobias Harris, Paul Reed

C: Joel Embiid

The Line

The Raptors are currently the underdog as Philly is an 8.5-point favourite. The Over/Under line sits at 230.5.