Game 6 Preview: Raptors vs Sixers

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (3-2) @ Philadelphia 76ers (2-3)

When: Thursday, May 9th, 8 P.M. ET

Where: Wells Fargo Center

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury report: For the Raptors, OG Anunoby (appendectomy), Chris Boucher (back spasms) and Jordan Loyd (coach’s decision) are out. For the Sixers, the injury report is to be determined.

- Opportunity awaits: Thanks to a dominant Game 5 win at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday, the Raptors are in Philadelphia with a 3-2 series lead and an opportunity to close out their best-of-seven series. This is the third time in three years that Toronto has had an opportunity to close out a series on the road. The Raptors won Game 6 in Milwaukee against the Bucks in 2017 and also closed out their first-round series against the Washington Wizards in 2018 in Game 6 on the road.

- Recent history: Toronto took control of their second-round series against Philadelphia with a 125-89 Game 5 victory at home. The win set a franchise record for largest margin of victory in a postseason game as six Raptors finished in double figures and the team finished the game 16-for-40 from beyond the three-point line. Kawhi Leonard has led the way in the first four games of the series, and he finished with a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double, also adding four assists and two steals. He received plenty of help from his teammates on both ends of the floor on Tuesday and the result was a Raptors victory that at one point saw the team lead by as many as 40 points. Jimmy Butler led the Sixers with 22 points and seven assists in the loss.

Extra Assists

- Spicy bounce back: One game after finishing with nine points on 2-for-10 shooting after being limited because of a sore right calf injury, Pascal Siakam put in a strong performance in Game 5. He led the team in scoring, putting up 25 points to go with eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 34 minutes. Siakam has been fantastic for Toronto in the postseason, averaging 21.7 points to serve as the team’s second-leading scorer. 

- Gritty performance: Game 5 was a roller coaster for Serge Ibaka. After taking an accidental elbow to the head from teammate Kawhi Leonard while under the basket, Ibaka had to leave the game to receive three stitches. He emerged from the locker room tunnel shortly afterward, a bandage on his head, and checked back into the game. Ibaka was huge for the Raptors in the team’s Game 4 win on the road, and he was equally as impressive in Game 5. In 22 minutes off the bench, he scored 10 points and was a +27. “Serge is playing with a tremendous amount of pride right now,” Nick Nurse said after the game. “He’s being big, he’s being active, he’s being a force out there.” 

- Hustle and go: The Raptors put in a fantastic performance in Game 5, but it was the little things that stood out most. From outrebounding a much longer Sixers team 42-37 to forcing Philadelphia into 19 turnovers and scoring 31 points off their miscues (the Sixers scored 15 points off Toronto’s turnovers), the Raptors did everything to give themselves an opportunity to win the game and it paid off big. Toronto shot 49 percent from the floor and 40 percent from the three-point line, while the defence held the Sixers to 42 percent shooting and 25 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Raptors also pushed the pace, outscoring the Sixers 33-8 in fast-break points. With the series shifting back to Philadelphia and with the Sixers knowing they must win Game 6 or lose the series, the Raptors know they have to be ready to take Philadelphia’s best punch when the ball goes up on Thursday night.

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