Raptors vs Sixers: Three keys to the series

An Asian man who swiftly took his son away from a courtside ruckus is being hailed as “Dad of the Year” on social media

His leaving has opened up the path to the East title, and Toronto - the team with the NBA's second-best record this season, 58-24 - might have its best chance yet of reaching the NBA Finals.

However, unlike past years, the Raptors quickly rebounded, marching to four straight playoff victories for the first time in franchise history to dispatch the Magic in five games.

Kyle Lowry scored 14 points as the Raptors finished off the Magic easily, bouncing back from a Game 1 defeat to win by double-digits in three of the next four.

While Leonard's reputation preceded him in Toronto, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said he's been even better than advertised.

Sidelined by a serious quadriceps injury last season, Kawhi Leonard hadn't made a playoff appearance in two years.

After a string of playoff disappointments culminating in back-to-back sweeps at the hands of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, Raptors president Masai Ujiri made some major changes in an attempt to improve his team's playoff fortunes.

Embiid and Marc Gasol have battled on the court, as have Kawhi Leonard and Ben Simmons. "[It's the] same preparation for any game, any team, You're going through the same steps, process".

"She said, 'I'm dictating this free agency".

So far, the experiment has worked.

The Raptors added Marc Gasol on in a trade February 7 and that has changed them as well. At the defensive end, the Raptors held the Magic to just 38.6% shooting from the field, and 26.5% from three-point range, and the Magic looked the part of a team defeated. We're just working hard to kind of jell together and figure things out.

"I think D'Angelo knows how we feel about him", Marks said.

"It's how can we adjust a little bit and see what they're trying to do?" he said. Tobias Harris finished with 12 points and three steals and Jimmy Butler also had three steals. Embiid averaged 27 points, 14.5 rebounds and three blocks in Game 4 and Game 5 as the 76ers completed four straight wins to eliminate the Nets. Add to it the rumor that Embiid is still dealing with knee tendinitis, and this match-up could be the one of the primary causes of the Sixers' downfall in this series.

Sixers coach Brett Brown wants the season series to come with an asterisk. Often injured and when healthy, struggling to retain his effectiveness deep into games, the superstar big man still has a lot of room to grow. And so you have Jo, you don't.

But as Butler hinted, friendship isn't a factor when you're on opposite sides. The public betting for the contest has 58 percent going on the Raptors as a home favorite.

In fact, Leonard, who came to Toronto last summer in a blockbuster deal that sent DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs, has never lost to the 76ers.

Despite winning the first game, the Nets were unable to pull another game out and bowed out of their first playoffs since the 2014-15 season.

Lowry has liked the Raptors' methodical approach in the film room to breaking down what the team can expect from the 76ers, but he believes knowledge of the tendencies of the individuals will be just as important.

"We all know what the math says with our success in Toronto and It's not flattering, but it's also not directed to the team we have", Brown said. This is a big sign of how different this year's team is, that they have the capability and force of will to just run through a team, and it bodes well for the Raptors going forward. He was excellent in the Brooklyn series, but could be a poor matchup against Serge Ibaka, who the Raptors have been using as their backup five.



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