The Toronto Raptors will be facing the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the playoffs and this is going to be a good back and forth series. Both teams are loaded with talent and something to prove. Who will prevail?
Both teams lost their first game in the first round of the playoffs but came back and won the next four to win the series. The Raptors have the home court advantage and have a lot of pressure because they traded their franchise player to get Kawhi Leonard. If they don’t make the Eastern Conference Finals, this season will be viewed as a failure.
Toronto isn’t the only team facing a lot of pressure. The 76ers also traded to improve and make a deep playoff run. They will be scrutinized and their head coach might be fired if they don’t make the Eastern Conference. With similar pressure and similar paths, we are going to see a lot of gritty basketball.
Who has the advantage? I will have to give the edge to the 76ers because they have a better roster and their potential is higher than the Raptors. That doesn’t mean that the 76ers will win. I think the 76ers haven’t unlocked all their potential but have the possibility to do that.
Even with better players, I believe the Raptors will win the series in 6 or 7 games. Toronto has an identity that has worked for them all season. Kawhi Leonard’s offense and defense might be the difference in this series. He will be relied on heavily because he has become the leader of the team.
The match-ups to watch in this series are very interesting. Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler will be going at it and it is the match-up we didn’t know we needed. Both players are good offensive and defensive players. Leonard is better in my opinion but Butler does not back down from a challenge.
The other big match-up is Joel Embiid and Marc Gasol. Embiid is the best center in the league but Marc Gasol is a veteran and savvy. He is the perfect player to guard Embiid and it will be fun to see both of them go at it.
It might ultimately come down to the match up between Tobias Harris and Pascal Siakam. The fate of the series might be decided by whichever player plays better. I think Siakam has the edge because the NBA hasn’t really figured out how to stop him while Harris has been a star in the league for a while.
I have the Raptors but the series is going to be a close one and the 76ers can win if they play great. That has been the problem for them. They haven’t always played well. In this series, the match-ups look great and we will see a physical series. Who are you rooting for