Philadelphia 76ers vs Toronto Raptors 4/20/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Predictions
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors Matchup Preview (4/20/22)
After two dominating games at home, the Philadelphia 76ers will cross borders to face the Raptors in Toronto. The Raptors have struggled in a few different areas against Philly: defending MVP candidate Joel Embiid and keeping up with the Sixers offensively. Philly has averaged over 120 points, while the Raptors are barely reaching 100 points. Toronto is having trouble stopping the Sixers for a team that ranks so high in most major defensive statistical categories. Those struggles can be primarily attributed to the fact it has to guard Joel Embiid, who is much bigger and stronger than the players on its roster. When Embiid catches the ball down low, one of three things happens: Embiid scores, Embiid gets fouled, or Embiid gets doubled and kicks it out to an open three-point shooter. It’s a rough position for the Raptors to be in, but they are hoping they can defend the three-point line better and score more; that’s the only way this series can be competitive. For more series information, check out the individual team analysis and betting odds section, where I go over my favorite team to move on in the NBA Playoffs.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors Betting Odds
This game should be much closer than the first two. I would be shocked if it ended with either team winning by double-digits. I don’t think that is in the cards. Game Threes are especially important for teams that are down 0-2 and know their backs are against the wall. If Toronto loses this game and goes down 0-3, there is virtually no chance at it winning the series. For that reason, I believe the Raptors will play with more of a sense of urgency and hopefully get a few convenient calls along the way, too. The loss of Matisse Thybulle did not necessarily seal the deal for me; however, his absence should help the Raptors get a few more open looks on offense. I will take Toronto against the spread.
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How To Watch
Time: 8:00 PM ET
Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, ON
Channel: NBA TV
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Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup
Philadelphia 76ers Analysis
As mentioned above, the plan for Philadelphia is pretty simple: give the ball to Joel Embiid, work through him, hit threes, and play passable defense. Everything listed there should be more than doable; however, its defense will take a big hit for these next few games. Unfortunately, because players are required to be vaccinated to cross the border into Canada, Matisse Thybulle will be unable to travel with the team. Thybulle is one of the premier wing defenders in the NBA, so he will certainly be missed on that end of the floor for these next two games. However, Thybulle’s absence should not derail the Sixers and their chemistry right now, as he has not played all that much in these first two playoff games. Despite Thybulle’s status, Philly has played two fantastic games to open up the first playoff series, and I imagine that will continue during its road stretch in Toronto.
Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup
Toronto Raptors Analysis
It should go without saying, but Game Three is a must-win game for the Toronto Raptors. The first two games of the series were not remotely competitive, as Philly won by double-digits both times. Obviously, this does not create a positive outlook for the Raptors, who would have to secure at least one win in Philadelphia, as well as win every home game, to move on in the NBA playoffs. Everything has gotten even murkier now that rookie forward Scottie Barnes is doubtful for Game Three, and guard Gary Trent Jr is dealing with an illness. At the very least, Toronto needs Trent to power through this sickness; this team struggles to score and has all season long. The Raptors can’t afford to be without him again. Still, they have some control over their destiny in the form of defense, but continuing to allow the Sixers to shoot nearly a 52/48/86 shooting split as a team will quickly shut that idea down.