Title: Deep Dive Series Preview: How do the Raptors and 76ers matchup? A study of playing styles, rotations and more
Date: April 25, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I performed a deep dive into the lineups, rotations, key matchups, playing styles and more for the second-round playoff series between the Raptors and 76ers.
When the Eastern Conference playoffs opened, two higher-seeded teams came out of the gate taking care of business, ultimately sweeping their first-round series. Those two teams will now meet in the second round in what should be a really good series. Neither of those teams are relevant to this piece.
Instead, the Raptors and 76ers stumbled out of the gate in lock-step, dropping their respective Game 1s and inciting all sorts of panic. For the Raptors, it was a sign of the Same Old Playoff Raptors, a team better built for the regular season that can’t be as effective when it matters. For the 76ers, it was a crystallization of season-long concerns about playing to the team’s floor, punctuated by concern about their superstar’s health. The series played out almost identically from there – both teams delivered two blowout wins with one tighter victory over the next three games, and in overlapping Game 5s on Tuesday, both were ahead double-digits in the blink of an eye.
For all the similarities the Bucks and Celtics showed in their first-round sweeps, the Raptors and 76ers may have been even more alike. Now, they’ll square off on the other side of the East bracket. This should also be really good.
To help us get started on our preview content, what follows is a high-level data dive to get a snapshot of each team over the course of the season. A lot of the Raptors’ data is less than illuminating given the circumstances this year, and the 76ers might be even messier with a pair of huge in-season trades. It’s the best we have, and we’ll apply the requisite context to try to make it as instructive as possible.