2) Toronto Raptors
If the visiting team steals one on the road, it greatly enhances their chances to win the series. The Philadelphia 76ers have to feel good about their situation over the Toronto Raptors but not get overconfident. Game 3 is pivotal because the winner has the upper hand.
Keys to the game
Toronto has to have better balance on offense, three players scoring all but 13 of the total points in Game 1 is a problem. The ball and player movement was stagnant which reflected in 27% shooting from three-point range. The Raptors must attack the basket, 15 free-throw attempts is not enough to beat the 76ers.
Defensively, Toronto must play without fouling to prevent the 76ers from piling up points at the free-throw line. Having more fouls (22) than assists (20) is a recipe for disaster. The Raptors have to rebound better, Philadelphia doubled them on the boards 52-36 in the last game.
On offense, Philadelphia had a balanced attack with four players in double figures led by Jimmy Butler. They should look to continue that including Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris who had subpar games but still won. The ball movement was crisp, resulting in 22 assists on 30 made baskets. If they keep this up, they shouldn’t have a problem in Game 3.
On defense, they need to continue to use their height to bother the Raptor’s shooters (37% from the field). With the 76ers dominating the boards, they can control the pace. They might not force a lot of turnovers but as long as they capitalize on the ones they do create, then Philly should be alright..
The x-factor for the Raptors is their bench. It is important that they get production from their bench players. They had more fouls (6) than points (5) and was a total nonfactor. Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet must bring that much needed spark to the floor.
The x-factor for the 76ers is their defense. Defensive effort has to be displayed especially with their size, making the Raptors shoot over them which makes it difficult. Along with dominating the boards, the 76ers need exert to their will with the defensive players they have.
Prediction- Philadelphia returns home feeling good after getting one in Toronto and feeds off the crowd to win.