It’s official, the Raptors are going to the NBA playoffs and they’ll be meeting a familiar foe: the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Pascal Siakam’s all-NBA season, NBA All Star Fred VanVleet and rookie Scottie Barnes, heralded by many as the Rookie of the Year — and including praise from Inside the NBA’s Charles Barkley, fans are trending the cheer ‘Raps in 6’ on social average.
Standing in their way are the 76ers, and the superstar duo in MVP candidate Joel Embiid, who became the first center since Shaquille O’Neal to lead the league in scoring, and former MVP James Harden who made the move from the Brooklyn Nets. It’s also why some are predicting Philly for the series win, including Shaq.
“Toronto is getting swept,” he said on Sunday evening after Toronto’s playoff matchup was confirmed.
But for Raptors fans, a Toronto win doesn’t seem impossible under the leadership of head coach Nick Nurse.
Others agree with Barkley’s comments on Barnes, who said “I know people down here in the States don’t get to see Toronto play a lot, but they in my opinion got the best rookie, his name is Scottie Barnes … he is fantastic. ”
Since Kyle Lowry’s departure to Miami, Raptors veterans Siakam and VanVleet have taken on leadership roles, pushing the team to a playoff berth. Their impact and determination haven’t gone unnoticed.
The last time the team met in the playoffs, the Raptors won the series in Game 7 off Kawhi Leonard’s four-bounce buzzer beater. Toronto would go on to win the championship for the 2019 season.
The series starts on Saturday in Philadelphia. Toronto will play away for two games and return to Scotiabank Arena for Game 3 and Game 4.
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