76ers vs. Raptors Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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The Toronto Raptors have continued to defy expectations and they’ve now won two consecutive games after starting the series off down 3-0. The Philadelphia 76ers, meanwhile, are quickly losing the momentum they built early in the series.
Has the injury to Joel Embiid opened the door for a comeback or will the Raptors finally fall?
It’s Game 6 in The 6, let’s break it down.
Can Philadelphia Survive Joel Embiid’s Injury?
The Philadelphia 76ers will be without Matisse Thybulle for Game 6 due to his incomplete vaccination status. This will impact their depth and defense, but it’s not nearly as important an issue as Embiid’s hand.
Embiid’s thumb injury is significant and it is not something that can be brushed aside. I wrote about this last game and the torn ligament in his thumb is going to remain an issue throughout the Playoffs. Embiid is not nearly as effective or efficient with the injury and if he is not playing at 100%, the 76ers are going to be fighting an uphill battle.
One concern is that we’ve seen the 76ers eFG% drop from 61.5% to just 48.1% since Embiid’s injury. However, Philadelphia’s expected eFG% has not changed much, dropping just 0.2%, from 54.9% to 54.7%, per Cleaning the Glass. This bodes well for some positive regression. However, some of that is because the Raptors have thrown different looks at Philadelphia.
One key difference of late has been the absence of Fred VanVleet. With VanVleet sidelined, James Harden does not have a natural switch on the offensive side of the ball and it’s been more difficult to find the mismatch against the Raptors’ length and athleticism.
Additionally, the Raptors have found success by doubling Embiid nearly every time down the floor. He’s struggled with double teams historically and now he’s dealing with that while injured and in the postseason. The 76ers need to adjust on the offensive end to survive Embiid’s injury.
Pascal Siakam Has Been Key for Toronto
The Raptors have listed VanVleet as doubtful with the hip injury he suffered in Game 4, but they’ve navigated his injury well considering he was an overall minus this series. He was a sieve defensively and with him off of the floor the Raptors can play a longer and more athletic lineup which helps them switch everything on defense. They’ve also run the offense through Pascal Siakam.
Siakam has arguably been the most important and best player in this series. He has a +/- of +14.6 and has by far played the most minutes for Toronto. Additionally, the Raptors have adapted to how the 76ers were defending Siakam. The 76ers have essentially used Embiid for help defense rather than using him as the primary defender of Siakam.
Now, the Raptors are using that to their advantage. Siakam is an excellent passer and whenever Embiid comes over to help on Siakam, the Raptors either send a cutter from the weak side (such as Precious Achiuwa) or Siakam looks to the perimeter for OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes or Gary Trent Jr. The Raptors have a size advantage on the perimeter against Harden and Maxey and are able to knock down those open looks.
The Raptors have also been able to survive without VanVleet because of how Scottie Barnes has performed alongside Siakam. When Barnes and Siakam have played together the Raptors are +12 points per 100 possessions, scoring 122.6 points per 100 while allowing just 110.6 per 100. These are top marks in the playoffs and their versatility is leading the Raptors to success.
Morale is low in Philadelphia and at this point the pressure is entirely on the 76ers to close out this series. Can they do so in Toronto? I’m not convinced.
Back in Game 1, I told you to bet the 76ers to win Game 1 and the Raptors to win the series at (+450) in large part because of the way Nick Nurse makes adjustments, something Doc Rivers isn’t necessarily known for doing. If you did not take that advice, you can still grab the Raptors to win the series at +550 on DraftKings, which is a play I prefer to the Raptors moneyline.
I do not trust this 76ers team with Embiid’s injury and their inability to adapt. While Philadelphia should see some positive regression shooting the basketball, the Raptors seemed to have figured out which lineups to employ against the 76ers. It is Rivers’ turn to adjust.
For you Sixers fans, this is the time to hedge on your happiness and grab that Raptors’ ticket so at least your wallet will be happy, even if your heart is broken.
Pick: Raptors to Win the Series +550