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Operation Sixers in Six: Embiid, Harden and co. look to stamp out revived Raptors squad

If the 76ers don’t eliminate Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes and the Raptors Thursday, they’ll be facing elimination ahead of a high-pressure Game 7

2022 NBA Playoffs - 76ers v Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

For the third straight game, the 76ers will have a chance to close out their first round series against the Toronto Raptors. Due to an uninspired performance in Game 5, the series once again moves back to Canada. This of course means that wing Matisse Thybulle is ineligible to play due to his vaccination status, although this could come as another break for the Sixers as Thybulle really struggled in Game 5.

There wasn’t much panic in Joel Embiid’s message to the team in his postgame presser after the loss, but the Sixers really need to close this series out as soon as possible. Embiid mentioned that the team just needed to get back to the recipe of keeping Toronto off the offensive glass and taking care of the basketball, two things they’ve really struggled to do the past two games. A few days ago they were looking at a potential week’s rest before the second round. Instead, they must continue to deal with a Raptors team now emboldened with new life and the chance to make history. No team has ever come back from an 0-3 hole.

The pressure is certainly on the Sixers to put this one away. Our friends at DraftKings have Philly at just 1.5 point favorites (-125 ML), basically a pick-em in Game 6. The odds on Toronto actually advancing to round two have jumped to +550, which is alarming considering the spot they were in just a couple of games ago.

There are no surprises on the injury report, the only Sixers listed are Thybulle and Charles Bassey, who has been out for some time now. The Raptors currently have listed All-Star guard Fred VanVleet as doubtful with a hip injury. VanVleet has been dealing with a nagging knee issue throughout the second half of the season. He didn’t look 100 percent when he was out there and FVV missed Game 5 after exiting in frustration during Game 4 due to a strained hip flexor. The undrafted legend said he’s day-to-day but the Raptors bigger lineup in his absence gave the Sixers surprise fits. It is safe to say Toronto has adjusted to not having their All-Star guard around.

Update 5:26 p.m.: VanVleet has officially been ruled out for Game 6.

If the Sixers win, they’ll officially book a trip to Miami to take on familiar foe, Jimmy Butler and the Heat.

Game Info

Who: Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers

When: 7:00 pm ET

Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBATV

Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Follow: @Liberty_Ballers

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