The Philadelphia 76ers face the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Orlando bubble on Wednesday. The Raptors are set in the second spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but the 76ers could move up from their current sixth-place standing and effect their first-round playoff foe. Both teams have just two regular-season games remaining before next week’s start to the NBA playoffs.
This has been a budding rivalry over the last couple of seasons, including last year’s playoff series that was decided on a last-second shot by Kawhi Leonard. The home team won each of the three matchups between the teams before the shutdown, but injuries and a neutral court make much of that impossible to use to determine the winner of this contest.
Can 76ers Overcome Injuries?
The 76ers now stand as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, despite the many injuries that the team has suffered. Joel Embiid will not be playing, and Ben Simmons will be out as well due to injury. Simmons will not be back this season after undergoing knee surgery, so coach Brett Brown is stuck between trying to rest his top players but also finding some chemistry without Simmons going into the postseason.
Further, Al Horford and Josh Richardson remain questionable and are most likely going to be playing limited minutes as well. Due to this, their record at the bubble is 3-2, losing against Portland and Indiana.
However, they have won with an injury-riddled team, against the Magic, Wizards, and Spurs. Much of this is due to Tobias Harris‘ consistent offensive efforts, usually scoring about 20 points per game in the bubble.
A Hunt for Another Title
The Raptors continue to prove their worth as a championship-caliber team. Even without Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam have all picked up their games. This is an experienced bunch that doesn’t rely on just one player to lead the way, so having players sit hasn’t been much of a problem.
In the last six games, the Raptors have won five, all of which were against formidable opponents. This includes the Eastern powerhouse Milwaukee Bucks and the championship-contending Los Angeles Lakers.
Further, a lot of underrated and forgotten guys in the rotation have been fueling their offense. Matt Thomas, for example, scored 20 points in their most recent win, while Chris Boucher had 25.
Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers Betting Lines
With the injury-riddled 76ers, the Raptors should really have no issue winning this one. Although Lowry and VanVleet have been listed as day-to-day, the remaining squad, spearheaded by Siakam, should be more than enough to inch out against the 76ers. Marc Gasol and OG Anunoby still remain on the team for their contribution on both ends of the floor, which will be further accentuated by Embiid’s absence.
BetRivers has the Raptors favored at -5.5. Do not expect the 76ers to win on this occasion.
Free Betting Pick
For Wednesday’s game, the Raptors have an amazing chance to continue their two-game winning streak. If they can win against both Milwaukee and the Lakers, the 76ers should not pose that much of an issue.
Further, expect guys like Thomas, Norman Powell, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to pick up some of the offensive slack. Either way, through offensive prowess alone, the Raptors can easily dominate the 76ers. Toronto is only playing to keep momentum going into the postseason, but that could be a big thing. Hard to question Nick Nurse’s methods with this squad after last year’s title and this season’s success.
The Raptors rank second in defensive efficiency, while the 76ers rank seventh, which is hurt by the losses of Simmons and Embiid on the defensive end. Their play on the 76ers will be gravely missed in this matchup.
Take the Raptors in this game on Wednesday!