3) Philadelphia 76ers
2) Toronto Raptors
It all comes down to one game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The Toronto Raptors are a slight favorite and rightfully so playing at home. Make no mistake though, the Philadelphia 76ers have a legitimate chance to win and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Keys to the game
On offense, Philadelphia has to spread the wealth around among the starters. This scenario makes it difficult for Toronto’s defense and stretches them to the limit. When the 76ers share the ball (27 assists on 41 made baskets), the offense runs like a well oiled machine.
On defense, the 76ers did a great job defending the three-point line in game 6 and look to continue that trend in game 7. They also bottled up the Raptors transition game, making them primarily a half court team. If Philadelphia can dominate the boards, it will go a long way to getting a road win.
Offensively, Toronto has been a tale of two teams in their wins and losses. When they win, they have balanced scoring from multiple players. In their losses, Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam are left to carry the scoring burden.
Defensively, the Raptors must keep the 76ers off the offensive boards to limit second chance opportunities. Protecting the paint is a major priority: that’s where Philadelphia scored half their points. Toronto also has to to do a better job guarding the three-point line, they gave up too many open looks.
For Philadelphia, the x-factor is keeping their turnovers and fouls down. Low turnovers mean less transition opportunities and easy baskets for Toronto. Less fouls mean fewer free throw attempts and potential foul trouble.
For Toronto, the x-factor will be the play of Marc Gasol and Danny Green. Gasol can impact the game on both ends, passing and post presence on offense and rebounding and paint protection on defense. Green can also affect the game on both ends, floor spacing and three point shooting on offense and toughness and versatility on defense.
Prediction- Toronto has been really good at home this postseason and the role players will play better at home to win a close one.