This “Trust the Prophecy” poll will look to tap into the collective wisdom of the Liberty Ballers community. Wisdom of the crowds is often more powerful than the guess of an individual. One example is the old “guess how many jellybeans are in the jar” contest. It’s been demonstrated that the average of every carnival-goer’s guess is often surprisingly close to the precise amount of candy beans, and much better than a random participants’ guess. We’d probably want to poll the Raptors fans as well to get a real sample, but maybe we’ll get some stragglers from Raptors HQ to chime in here.
The Sixers are set to face the Toronto Raptors in round one. Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris get another crack at the team who eliminated them in a devastating, franchise-altering second-round series back in 2019. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet will have their second shot in four seasons to inflict heartbreak upon Philadelphia.
Maybe six weeks ago, I was more nervous about this possible matchup than some other Sixer fans I spoke to were. This was back when we thought they might meet as a two vs. seven series.
But the more I started to worry that the Sixers could wind up facing one of the Boston Celtics (before the went scorched earth and won 23 of 27 games) or Brooklyn Nets (when I thought the Sixers might snag a top two seed) the more I welcomed Toronto as a scary, but ultimately palatable alternative.
What’s changed in the weeks leading up to this match is that the Raptors surged all the way up to a five seed and the Sixers mostly failed to meet my expectations down the stretch.
And there’s been an unexpected leveling off between these two teams, a combination of James Harden’s (likely hamstring related) struggles as a scorer and perhaps some coaching issues combined to limit the Sixers from finishing as a top three seed down the stretch. And the Raptors got hot down the stretch too.
Nick Nurse’s unit is coached really well. The Raps have hounded Joel Embiid as well as any team in the league over the MVP candidate’s career. Embiid has developed as a passer and playmaker but he’ll once again be tested. He likes to assert his will on a game, but Toronto will bet he takes just enough tough shots and accumulates just enough turnovers to steal one of the first two games in Philly.
Everyone knows that the Toronto Raptors are going to swarm Joel Embiid starting on Saturday— MRCROCKPOT TPL (@mrcrockpot) April 15, 2022
Here is a quick breakdown on how the Raptors completely smother the potential MVP and make his life a living hell #Sixers #HereTheyCome #JoelEmbiid #WeTheNorth #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/zWLAEacBu1
Matisse Thybulle has only received one mRNA dose of vaxx so he’s not considered fully vaccinated and therefore cannot play in any games in Toronto, per Canada’s COVID restrictions. That will vault Danny Green into a more featured role. We’ll have to see if Thybulle’s minutes will be reduced for games in Philly as well. Based on the last game or two of the regular season it seems possible coach Doc Rivers will limit Matisse a bit, perhaps seeking continuity so there’s not a totally different rotation for games in Philly and Canada.
But without further ado, let’s make our predictions for the series.
Let’s try our hand at some fortune telling again for round one:
Who will win round one Sixers or Raptors?
This poll is closed
Sixers in 4
Sixers in 5
Sixers in 6
Sixers in 7
Raptors in 4
Raptors in 5
Raptors in 6
Raptors in 7