The NBA has announced times and dates for the 2021-22 postseason. The Philadelphia 76ers will host the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 on Saturday (April 16) at 6:30 p.m., then return to Wells Fargo Center for Game 2 on Monday (April 18) at 7:30 p.m. in their first-round playoff series.
The Raptors won the regular-season series 3-1 over the Sixers. The average margin of victory was 6.5 points, with Toronto winning the most recent matchup 119-114 on April 7. The two teams have split 14 games against one another in the postseason, including that brutal loss in the 2019 Eastern Conference semifinals. Luckily, Kawhi Leonard is no longer on the Raptors.
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Shaquille O’Neal Picking Sixers to Sweep
Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t afraid to let his feelings known about the Sixers-Raptors series. The Hall of Famer boldly declared: “Toronto’s getting swept, write it down.”
O’Neal’s comment goes against the popular opinion, though. The consensus seems to think this could be the most exciting matchup of the first round, with many experts predicting a Toronto upset. The Raptors went 34-17 since December 31 while going 7-2 against the top four teams in the Eastern Conference. They are primed to make things troublesome for Philadelphia.
“Toronto has a terrific ensemble cast, led by the two guys — Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam — remaining from their  championship rotation,” wrote NBA Media’s John Schuhmann. “The Raptors play aggressively on both ends of the floor, and they have what it takes to make things difficult for the Sixers.”
That being said, Schuhmann still picked the Sixers to win the series in seven games. The All-Star combination of Joel Embiid and James Harden should prove too much for Toronto to handle.
Paul Reed, Best Rebounder on Sixers’ Roster?
The tension between Doc Rivers and reporters following Sunday night’s win over Detroit was palpable. The Sixers head coach took issue with claims he should have given Paul Reed more minutes earlier in the year. The backup big man scored 25 points and grabbed six rebounds in the regular-season finale while severely outplaying DeAndre Jordan.
Rivers explained how Jordan will have a bigger role against teams with bigger centers. And Reed will get the call versus teams with smaller fives. It’s that simple. But Rivers was quick to admit that Reed might be the best rebounder on the Sixers’ roster.
“He’s the best rebounder we have,” Rivers said of Reed. “Other than Joel [Embiid], obviously.”
“I put all my energy into it. Every play. I try not to take any plays off,” Reed said. “I try to attack every rebound. Offensive and defensive. I’m not one of those dudes that try to pass that. When my teammates have the ball, I’m not gonna try and take it from them. On the offensive, I’m trying to get every rebound. Defensively, I’m just trying to make sure our team secures the possession.”