Game 3 Preview: Raptors vs Sixers

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (1-1) @ Philadelphia 76ers (1-1)

When: Thursday, May 2nd, 8 P.M. ET

Where: Wells Fargo Arena

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury report: For the Raptors, OG Anunoby (appendectomy), Chris Boucher (back spasms) and Jordan Loyd (coach’s decision) are listed as out. For the Sixers, Greg Monroe (left ankle sprain) is listed as probable and Mike Scott (bruised heel and plantar fasciitis) is listed as questionable. 

- On the road again: The Raptors are on the road for Games 3 and 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers with Game 3 on Thursday and Game 4 on Sunday. Toronto heads to Philadelphia with their second-round series tied 1-1 after falling 94-89 in Game 2 at Scotiabank Arena on Monday. Toronto is 2-0 on the road in the playoffs this season, winning Games 3 and 4 in Orlando en route to closing out the Magic in five games in their first-round best-of-seven series. The Raptors have fared well on the road, setting a franchise record for road wins (26-15) during the regular season. The team will return to Scotiabank Arena for Game 5 on Tuesday, May 7 at 8 P.M. ET.

- Recent history: After a strong 108-95 victory in Game 1, the Raptors were unable to replicate the results in Game 2, falling 94-89 as Jimmy Butler led the Sixers with a 30-point, 10-rebound, five-assist performance. Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors in the loss, scoring 35 points just two days after dropping 45 points in Game 1. Toronto shot just 37 percent in the game while holding the Sixers to 40 percent shooting. Despite falling behind by as many as 19 points in the second quarter and trailing 13 at the half, the Raptors fought their way back and had an opportunity to tie the game with 24.3 seconds left. 

Extra Assists

- Defence first: Though the Raptors lost Game 2, their defence was on point once again. In all seven postseason games, the Raptors have held their opponent under 42 percent shooting. This is tied for the second-longest postseason streak of holding opponents below 42 percent shooting in the three-point era. Toronto forced the Sixers into 20 turnovers, scoring 24 points off Philadelphia’s miscues, while the Sixers scored just six points off 14 Raptors turnovers.

- Ring it up: Kyle Lowry had a 20-point, five-rebound, five-assist effort in Toronto’s Game 2 loss, but once again it was his defence and hustle plays that captured the most attention. Through seven postseason games, Lowry is leading the league with nine offensive charges drawn and 21 loose balls recovered. He is second in postseason stats with 25 deflections in those seven games. Lowry is averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game in the postseason. Of players still competing in the playoffs, only Denver’s Nikola Jokic is averaging more assists (8.8) per game.

- Points on the board: Kawhi Leonard followed up a 45-point Game 1 performance with 35 more points in Game 2. Though Toronto lost, Leonard’s effort was again excellent. He finished with 35 points, seven rebounds, six assists, a steal and a blocked shot in 42 minutes of action. In seven postseason games, Leonard is averaging 31.2 points (third in the league),  7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 58 percent from the floor and 47 percent from beyond the arc.

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