RAPTORS BLOG: While things look bleak, Raptors have recovered from past deficits

Won three straight wins to beat Milwaukee and tied two more series losing 2-0

Content of the article

Things are looking dire for the Raptors heading into Game 3 against Philadelphia. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey have made their way with them. Scottie Barnes has been injured in a scary incident. Gary Trent Jr. was under bad weather and played his worst basketball of the season at the worst possible time. Too much has been asked of Fred VanVleet. The fouling will not stop. And James Harden hasn’t even really started yet.

Content of the article

Still, this has been a serious team doing the unexpected. Most of the time they’ve done it on the road, but now they’ll have to go through what should be an extremely noisy SBA.

Toronto is 11-10 all-time in Game 3 of a playoff series. They were only better in Game 4 (11-9). They’ve trailed five times in a series by a two-game margin since 2013-14 and have come back to win a series once (against Milwaukee on their way to the NBA championship) and rallied to tie a series three times (Cleveland in 2015-16 under Dwane Casey in the conference finals, Boston in the second round in 2019-20 under Nick Nurse). It means they have a habit of making things interesting, and we think they will do it again this year.

Content of the article

– Stop getting your ass kicked when Embiid is resting. It just can’t happen. It’s the easiest way to build momentum in games, but instead the Sixers had an advantage when the MVP candidate gets a break.

– At least make the free throw battle somewhat interesting. Now, Philly is a team that draws a ton of fouls and Toronto is a team that doesn’t hit the line often, but there can’t be a 15-20 free try bonus every game. Things will likely improve a bit with the Raptors at home, but the Sixers will have an advantage reaching the line every game. It’s just the way these teams are built.

“Let Siakam eat. No Mattise Thybulle in Toronto means Tobias Harris (excellent on the show so far) will be tasked with slowing down Siakam a lot. Embiid may also have to step in. The Raptors need to take advantage of those opportunities to (A) get him to Harris and (B) fire Embiid.

Content of the article

“If Trent still isn’t himself, Nick Nurse must be ruthless. Much like DeMar DeRozan has been benched at times in the playoffs, the only goal is to win. There is no time to massage egos. Seating him later in Game 2 was Toronto’s only option. It’s great that he’s come through his illness to be there for his teammates, but if he can’t contribute he can’t play until he’s healthy.

– Might as well do more for OG Anunoby, one of the few Raptors willing to match Philadelphia’s physique.

— Chris Boucher also gave his all.

– Philadelphia took the first punch and then took over. This cannot happen in Toronto.

— It’s unfortunate that Anunoby slipped when Toronto cut the lead to 11. It was Toronto’s last gasp.

– Fred VanVleet’s 23 shot attempts were the most 25 in a playoff game in Raptors history. His 30.4 percent shooting was the second-lowest in all those games, behind only a 29.6 percent performance on 17 shots from Vince Carter.

Kawhi Leonard’s record 39 attempts came against Philadelphia (on 41% shooting), as did Carter’s No. 3 in 2001. DeMar DeRozan took 32 shots against Indiana and shot 31.3% in 2016.

VanVleet’s 16 three-point attempts set a franchise record, three more than the 13 he took twice against Boston in 2020. Strangely, Siakam also took 13 in a game against Boston. Norman Powell and Carter also once went 13 in a playoff game as the Raptor. Carter’s nine marks in this game are franchise-high, while VanVleet nailed eight.


1 – Joel Embiid

2 – OG Anunoby

3 – Tyrese Maxey