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Odds Raptors Can Complete Historic Comeback Against 76ers


The Toronto Raptors are trying to become the first NBA team to successfully come back from a 3-0 series deficit in the playoffs. With two straight victories against the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto is halfway there and one win away from forcing a deciding Game 7.

The odds are firmly against the Raptors, who trail the 76ers 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Toronto. Philadelphia is a -850 favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook to win the first-round series. Toronto has +590 odds to complete a historic comeback.

The momentum is certainly in the Raptors’ favor after a 103-88 Game 5 win in Philadelphia. Pascal Siakam led all scorers with 23 points. Joel Embiid was held to 20 points, well below his regular-season average of 30.6 points per contest. 

Embiid had 21 points in Philadelphia’s 110-102 Game 4 loss. The center could struggle to dominate Toronto the way he did in Game 2 and Game 3 because of a torn ligament in his right thumb that will require offseason surgery. 

Embiid totaled 64 points on 36 field-goal attempts in Philadelphia’s second and third victories of the series.

If Embiid isn’t going to be an efficient 30-point scorer, the 76ers will need James Harden to step up. The shooting guard has not been the superstar that Philadelphia thought it acquired at the trade deadline.

In 21 regular-season games with the 76ers, Harden averaged 21.0 points — his lowest scoring average in a decade — on 40.2% shooting. Harden’s numbers declined in the playoffs with an average of 18.4 points on 37.6% shooting.

Harden had 15 points on 4-11 shooting in Game 5.

“I’ve been saying all season since he (Harden) got here, he needs to be aggressive and he needs to be himself,” Embiid told reporters after Game 5. “That’s not really my job. That’s probably on Coach to talk to him and tell him to take more shots, especially if they’re going to guard me the way they’ve been guarding. But that’s really not my job.

“But we all need to be better offensively. We missed a bunch of wide-open shots. At times, I just felt like we just invited, when I was getting doubled, we were not aggressive attacking the ball. We just kept moving the ball around the perimeter, and that gave them time to recover, and that’s why were not able to get anything out of it.”

Harden has been known to come up short in the playoffs, particularly when his team’s back is against the wall. 

Philadelphia was upset by the Atlanta Hawks as the East’s No. 1 seed in last year’s playoffs. Doc Rivers has coached three different teams that have blown a 3-1 series lead in the postseason. 

Toronto is also dealing with key injuries, part of the reason why Philadelphia remains such a heavy favorite. Fred VanVleet missed Game 5 with a strained hip flexor and the Raptors’ second-leading scorer is unsure if he can play in Game 6.

NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes had 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Raptors in Game 5. Barnes missed Game 2 and Game 3 with an injury.

The Raptors are 1.5-point home underdogs in Game 6 Thursday night.

Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers Photo: Getty Images | Michael Reaves

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