In the Eastern Conference, we have the Milwaukee Bucks facing the Boston Celtics. The other series will see the Toronto Raptors facing the Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto eliminated the Orlando Magic in five games to advance to the second round. The 76ers eliminated the Brooklyn Nets in five games also. The Raptors had plenty of help in their series with the Magic and will need the same, if not more. Kawhi Leonard had an impressive series and Pascal Siakim have continued his season-long tear across the league. Toronto’s bench has stepped up and will be key in this series. Joel Embiid dominated the Nets in their first round series, but he also missed a game due to his lingering knee injury. Ben Simmons stepped up, while Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris did their thing also. Who will move one step closer to a championship and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals?
How Can the Raptors Advance?
As we all know by now, the Raptors struggles in the playoffs have been well documented. This team seems different unlike the teams in the past. This Toronto team thrive on defense and is one of the better defensive teams in the league. Kawhi Leonard could probably have the task of stopping Ben Simmons. Honestly, the Raptors could throw a couple other guys at Simmons. Marc Gasol was picked up in a trade with the hopes of slowing down Embiid. Danny Green will have to hit the 3-pointers when he’s open and Pascal Siakim will have to continue his great play. Kyle Lowry will need to play better than he has in playoffs past. All in all, Kawhi Leonard will need to be the leader that he’s capable of. In the end, Gasol and Serge Ibaka will have to crash the boards and prevent Embiid from dominating.
How Can the 76ers Advance?
Philadelphia’s goal this year was not to relive them losing in the 2nd round last season. While Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are great talents, management got them some help. They traded for Jimmy Butler and later on, they picked up Tobias Harris. Coming into the playoffs, the 76ers have arguably the best starting five in the league. With Ben Simmons facilitating, Embiid dominating the paint and the offensive fire power from Harris, they should be good. While Kawhi Leonard being the defensive stopper, Jimmy Butler will need to be that for the 76ers. Butler will probably have to focus on Pascal Siakim because Siakim could get hot instantly. J.J. Reddick will have to come off the bench and hit those open 3s if the Sixers will advance. Joel Embiid will need to continue to dominate and Simmons continue what he did the last series.
Who Will Win?
Like the Bucks/Celtics series, this will be another tough one to call. Toronto have homecourt advantage in this series and that’ll be key. While the 76ers have one of the best starting fives in the league, Toronto got a great complete team. Will the 76ers offense strive against the tough Raptors defense? The defense from Marc Gasol on Joel Embiid will be the determining factor in this series. This series should go at least six or seven games. In the end, I’m picking the Raptors to barely get by the Sixers in a close seven game series.
Toronto Advances to the Eastern Conference Finals
Are you ready for this second round series? Who do you have winning in this Toronto versus Philadelphia series? How will the Toronto versus Philadelphia series? Do you agree with my assessment of the Toronto versus Philadelphia series? Leave some feedback below.