By anyone’s standard, a win is a win. By by the 2019-20 Philadelphia 76ers’ standards, winning two straight road games qualifies as a Herculean task on par with the slaying of the nine-headed Hydra. Now riding a four-game winning streak overall, the Sixers head to the Great White North to try and slay their own demons in Toronto.
Scotiabank Arena has not been kind to Philadelphia across the last nine months, to put it mildly. Of course, it was the site of Kawhi Leonard’s historic shot of a million bounces, which ended the Sixers’ 2019 title hopes in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals last May. Then, in late November, the Raptors came out on top again, winning 101-96 in the game Joel Embiid was held scoreless. Truly unbelievable events take place in this building, and they all seem to conspire against the Sixers.
Even when the Sixers were able to secure the win at home against the Raptors in December, we bore witness to Philadelphia falling to pieces trying (and largely failing) to break Toronto’s full-court press in the final five minutes. Never has a victory felt more like a loss than that game where even crossing mid-court began to seem like an impossible task.
So Toronto has clearly had Philadelphia’s number of late, and unfortunately for the Sixers, they are catching the Raptors at an inopportune time. The Raptors had been missing Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Norm Powell, and Marc Gasol all fairly recently for various lengths of time, but those guys are back on the court and Toronto has zero names to report on the injury list entering Wednesday night. Credit to Toronto for weathering those injuries and staying right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Raptors are riding a four-game winning streak of their own and currently sit in third place, one game back of the second-place Heat.
The Sixers certainly have their work cut out for them tonight. Even in a normal year of road game aptitude, there would be no shame to dropping one in Toronto. Down Joel Embiid and facing a full-strength Raptors squad, they will really need to dig deep to try to exorcise their demons north of the border.
Let’s see Ben Simmons build off what was arguably the best game of his career Monday in Brooklyn. Let’s see Al Horford look like the Not So Average Al of his Boston days. Let’s see Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson navigate the Raptors’ army of long-limbed wings and score across all three levels. Let’s see Furkan Korkmaz pop the Kork like it’s Summer League and Matisse Thybulle traverse the defensive end of the court like the Lost Smoke Monster.
Let’s see a win.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors
When: 7:00 pm ET
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia; ESPN
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Philadelphia: Joel Embiid (out - hand)