NBA Playoffs: Philadelphia 76ers vs Toronto Raptors Game 2 - starting lineups and match prediction
For Game 2 of the clash between the eastern conference powerhouses, the action stays at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. The Raptors, who won the regular season face-offs 3 -1, is favored to win the series and get to the conference finals for the second time in the franchise's history.
When: April 30th 5:30 AM IST
Toronto win 108 - 95
The Raptors came out red hot in a high-scoring first quarter, putting up 39 points at a staggering 73% efficiency with 0 turnovers. Philly managed to keep it close, only trailing by 8 at the end of the quarter. The 76ers clawed their way back, going on a 10 - 2 run, making it a one-point game early in the second quarter.
With Embiid on the bench for most of the quarter, Toronto then continued to dominate and ended the half, leading 61 - 52. Pascal Siakam and Kawhi Leonard were absolutely sensational, combining for 49 points off 19 - 25 shooting and outscoring Philly's starters by 9 points.
JJ Redick, who was scoreless in the first half, managed to get going and poured in 15 points in the third. It was of no avail as Toronto continued to outscore them, going on a 13 - 0 run to take command of the game. For all intents and purposes, the game was over midway through the 4th quarter and both teams ended the game with bench players on the court.
Kawhi was unstoppable, scoring a career-high 45 points with 11 rebounds. Pascal Siakam continued to impress, scoring 29 points while only missing 3 of his 15 shots. Marc Gasol only scored 8 points but he was vital to his team's success, being the primary defender on Joel Embiid who had a disappointing game, only scoring 16 points and shooting 5 - 18 from the field.
JJ Redick led the Sixers with 17 points and James Ennis, who came off the bench, played well, scoring 11 points in just 5 shots. The Sixers were careless with the ball and turned it over 16 times. Both teams shot a similar percentage from three with the Sixers doing marginally better, making 11 - 32 compared to 9 - 27 by the Raptors.
Philly lineup: Tobias Harris (F), Jimmy Butler (F), Joel Embiid (C), Ben Simmons (PG), and JJ Redick (SG). Whether Mike Scott, who missed Game One with a right heel contusion, will play is still uncertain.
Toronto lineup: Pascal Siakam (F), Kawhi Leonard (F), Marc Gasol (C), Kyle Lowry (PG), and Danny Green (SG).
Toronto outperformed Philly in all facets of the game and took an easy victory. They will look to continue their dominance and take a commanding 2 - 0 lead. After putting on a clinic in Game One, they will not look to make many adjustments in Game 2. They only need to continue to execute at a high level.They may explore drawing up some plays to get Kyle Lowry who only scored 9 points more involved offensively.
The Raptors are arguably the best defensive team in the league with elite defenders in all 5 positions, led by two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard. The Sixers will have a very tough time scoring on them and must be careful not to accentuate the problem by making silly turnovers. Leonard, when he is on song, may be unstoppable but they must make it harder for Siakam. They cannot let him get into the paint with the ease that he did in Game 1.
Embiid, who is facing two physically imposing defenders in Gasol and Ibaka, has the skills and size to dominate them both. For the Sixers to be successful, Embiid needs to be dominant on both ends of the court. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris had forgettable Game Ones, both shooting around 30%. They must find ways to overcome Toronto's stifling defense and be more efficient. Ben Simmons missed just one shot in the opening game but he needs to take it to the rim more often and find his teammates open looks.
Philly will come out strong and put up a much-improved performance. However, the Raptors should manage to withstand the onslaught and take the victory in a competitive Game 2.