Down 0-3 in their series against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Toronto Raptors will need to find a way to avoid a sweep.
There was certainly a noticeable improvement from the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.
Joel Embiid hit the dagger 3-pointer with seconds left in overtime and now Toronto faces the improbable task of having to win four straight games if they are to remain in the playoffs. Even if they don’t find a way to come back in this series, they can’t bow out of the postseason with a whimper.
How the Raptors respond in Game 4 will say a lot about the team’s mentality and it will serve them in the future as well. If they were to make life difficult on the Sixers to close out this series, Toronto can build off of it going into next season.
The Raptors also found out what happens when you miss free throws late in the game. Precious Achiuwa missed a pair at the line with less than 30 seconds along with OG Anunoby missing one of his not too long after.
In a close game, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference and Philadelphia got the critical plays when they needed them. Embiid’s game-winner is the perfect example, something the Raptors know all too well as they have been on the receiving end of it countless times and have also dished out their fair share of heartbreaking moments.
Toronto Raptors will need a lot to go their way in Game 4
If the Raptors are going to have any chance of extending the series there are a lot of things that will have to go their way.
Getting Scottie Barnes back in the lineup will provide the Raptors a massive boost considering he was one of the team’s best players in Game 1 before getting hurt.
"“It would do a lot,” Fred VanVleet said about having Barnes back. “He has been one of our better players this year. He’s obviously in our starting five. He brings a lot to the table with his size and his IQ and just the way he plays. He can break a defence down. Defensively he can switch and guard and rebound.”"
The other issue the Raptors need to solve is getting VanVleet and Pascal Siakam to perform better, simply put. They went 6-of-29 from the floor, with Siakam putting up a grand total of zero points after halftime.
If the Raptors want any chance of making this series interesting, their All-Star players are going to have to start playing like All-Star players. OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. tried their best to pick up the slack but they alone cannot beat the Sixers.
They were certainly better defensively in this game but they gave the Sixers an opening to come back and you cannot do that when you’re battling for your playoff lives.
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What are your thoughts on the Raptors’ loss in Game 3? Can they figure out a way to keep the series alive? Let us know in the comments below.