You can never predict what you might get out of an NBA game. However tonight, the Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers game served us an upset. The 2nd seeded 76ers were on a tear since the all-star break. James Harden has been a perfect fit in some games and looks like he doesn’t belong on the court in other games. Tonight we saw the latter unfold.
The last time these teams played, Embiid was on the court and VanVleet was not. It’s no surprise that the 76ers won that game. Tonight, the situation was the same, plus, Philly added another all-star to the mix. There is no surprise as to why the odds for Philadelphia winning were high.
The Toronto Raptors teach Philadelphia a defensive masterclass
The Raptors started the game in the worst way possible. At the end of the first Philadelphia was up by 10 points and had scored 37 points in that quarter. However, the Raptors turned up the defensive intensity to a 100. In the next 3 quarters, Philly scored just 51 points. That defensive performance was so dominant that even though Toronto scored just 12 in the 3rd quarter, they took the win.
This game was completely built on the defense because the offensive showing was nonexistent. 3 starters for Toronto shot under 29% from the field. For Philadelphia, Embiid led the scoring but on awful shooting percentages. Most of his points came at the line. James Harden just struggled and was extremely passive. It was almost like he was hiding in the shadow of Embiid. Tobias Harris played 27 minutes and put up just 5 points.
This all came at the hands of a team missing one of their biggest scorers in Fred VanVleet. Siakam did his role of leading in Fred’s absence. However, if Fred was available, Philadelphia would’ve been blown out.
This is a major concern for a team that is labeled a contender. Ben Simmons was the problem the first time out but if they lose early this season as well, the entire organization will be under scrutiny. How far will the 76ers go realistically in the 2021-22 NBA playoffs?