Raptors vs. 76ers Odds, Prediction: Game 3 NBA Playoffs

Team's Resiliency Shines in Game II Victory

Team's Resiliency Shines in Game II Victory

He was, in keeping with our theme, Jon Snow facing off against an army of white walkers.

If the 30, 11, and five Butler put up yesterday to help the Sixers steal homecourt advantage in the series is an audition for a max contract, it couldn't have been appreciated more.

So Game 4 of the Raptors best-of-seven series against the Philadelphia 76ers is bigger than your average big game. If Leonard is going to be the only reliable playoff scorer on his team, he could do that anywhere.

Kyle Lowry, who has shown time and again he can still impact a game in which he isn't scoring, was just 2-for-9 on the night and did not have his normal impact defensively on the game finishing with a game-worst minus-28.

But in the 27 minutes Leonard hasn't played in the series, Toronto turns into squirrels racing around, jumping from place to place, accomplishing nothing. According to NBA, Simmons defended Leonard for 61.0 percent of his offensive possessions in Game 2, up from 35.1 percent in Game 1.

Toronto is typical of National Basketball Association teams in this regard.

NBA Playoffs 2019: Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers Game 2 live stream
Raptors coach Nick Nurse practised some serious diplomacy by making his complaints about the calls rather subtle in between games. The Sixers dominated most of the first half, leading 51-38, but Gasol was doing what the coaches wanted him to do.

Game 4 is on Sunday as the Sixers look for the 3-1 lead before the series shifts back to Toronto.

Those numbers are not great for the Raptors on their own. A couple of them felt really good.

Coupled with the fact that the Blue Jays are nothing special this season, and CFL teams can't win the Super Bowl, this will make 26 years without any champion in any of the four major North American sports.

It still wasn't enough to stop Leonard from having another big game, but it's clear that Simmons is Philadelphia's only hope of keeping the Raptors superstar in check. Leonard has been an absolute monster so far in his first post-season campaign with Toronto.

As will, duh, the actual Raptors.

Even though LeBron James has left the Eastern Conference and has been relegated to watching the playoffs from home, the Toronto Raptors are heading toward another disappointing early exit after a blowout loss in Game 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Things have been a bit more dramatic in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly squabbles. But with the bench being a massive liability, and with Siakam effectively muzzled by Embiid, the responsibility falls on Lowry and Gasol to provide more. There has been speculation about the compatibility of their playing styles, and their personalities.

"I think for everybody that knows me, I need it", Embiid said of the antics.

Masai Ujiri, exercising the patience that had been on display since his team all of a sudden burst into the playoffs a few years ago and then became a reliable 50-win franchise, chose to retain the guy who had just been named Coach of the Year - not a insane notion, really - and then waited to see what else happened last summer.

To that end, the Sixers were +10 on the rebounding side of things, and a whopping +14 in assist differential. Coach Nick Nurse said it was all a mess.

Pascal Siakam added 20 points for the Raptors, who looked nothing like the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

"I think the first adjustment we're going to have to make is we're going to have to play a hell of a lot harder", Nurse said. "In overall physicality, energy, cutting, rebounding, passing, all that kind of stuff". But looming over it all is the long shadow of Embiid.

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