Can Toronto do it? A first NBA Championship beckons if the Raptors can remain cool and composed. The Golden State Warriors have looked strong but the Los Angeles Clippers have won two games in that series and that shows that they are not invincible by any means. With a bit of luck, Canadian fans could be celebrating a first Toronto success on basketball’s biggest stage.
The Raptors booked their spot in the Conference semi-finals with minimal fuss and now they face a tough seven-match series with the Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto have performed well against their opponents in the regular season and that is a positive omen ahead of what may be an entertaining series. This probably isn’t going to be a whitewash – neutrals will be hoping for an exciting Game 7.
Philadelphia have been building momentum in recent years and 76ers fans will believe that this is their moment. Beating the Raptors in Game 1 would send a real statement of intent, not only to Toronto in relation to the series but to the rest of the playoff contenders. Philly aren’t in this to make up the numbers; they are in it to win it.
At the time of writing, Toronto are 8/1 to lift the NBA title this year – plenty of punters will be siding with the Canadian outfit if they can get past Philadelphia. The Milwaukee Bucks are still favourites to win the Eastern Conference but a potential banana skin series with the Boston Celtics could end their chances. Toronto are certainly in the driving seat in terms of form.
Event Date: April 27, 2019
Raptors Up To The Task Of Going All The Way?
Toronto are heading in the right direction and a first Eastern Conference championship may be on the cards. Get past Philadelphia and then the Raptors can start dreaming of the NBA crown. However, looking too far ahead could prove costly – especially as the 76ers are one of the most dangerous teams in the league. They will relish taking on the role of underdogs.
As expected, the Raptors will head into Game 1 as strong favourites. Their home form this year has been simply sublime and Toronto fans in attendance will be expecting a big effort from their side. Opening with a home triumph is an absolute must – the Raptors will not want to give Philadelphia any confidence in the early stages of the series.
76ers Have The Quality To Push Toronto To Limits
Write Philadelphia off at your peril. As previously mentioned, the 76ers are one of the most naturally gifted teams in the NBA and they will fancy their chances of spoiling the party. It isn’t going to be easy but the pressure is on Toronto and Philadelphia will enjoy their time on the big stage. Their ‘nothing to lose’ attitude could be key here – the 76ers will attempt to relax and play from the front.
This one is going right down to the wire. Toronto are the classier team but Philadelphia’s attitude has won neutrals over in recent months – the 76ers will have lots of support ahead of this series. However, Toronto look destined for the Eastern Conference series and this may be a step too far for the road side.
The Raptors know that getting off to a winning start is more important for them than it is for Philadelphia. Home advantage is huge in the postseason and there will be some atmosphere for Game 1. Back the Toronto Raptors to emerge victorious.
TIP: Toronto Raptors to win
CORRECT SCORE: Toronto Raptors 112-110 Philadelphia 76ers