TORONTO — Results in the playoffs are often about perspective, and the 76ers’ Game 2 win over the Raptors is just that.
The Sixers look at the adjustments they made and their defensive intensity as the reason for their victory on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Raptors feel as though some missed shots that they normally make would have swung the game in their direction.
“It was a one-possession game at one point,” Pascal Siakam said after the game, noting that he didn’t think Joel Embiid being assigned to him was the reason for being held to 21 points. “I think I was just rushing a little bit, and then I missed a lot of shots, shots that I would take again.”
This all makes sense for a team that was shooting 48.5 percent from the field through the playoffs, but had a 36.7-percent outing in Game 2.
Siakam, Kawhi Leonard, and Marc Gasol are certain that they can maneuver around the Sixers’ defensive adjustments to make their mark on the game.
It’s worth noting, though, that the Sixers were just a step behind the Raptors in playoff field-goal percentage heading into Monday at 47.7 percent.
The way the Sixers see it, all they need to do is let the defense do the talking, and they can win this series.
“Obviously they’re gonna make some adjustments, as will we probably,” Jimmy Butler said. “But, as long as we get back, guard, rebound, and don’t turn the ball over, we’ll be alright.”
The Raptors are unlikely to give credit to the Sixers’ defense, considering they have Leonard and Gasol, two former defensive players of the year.
Leonard did say that the Sixers defense did a good job on Monday, but he blamed his troubles on not reacting well.
”He’s long, like you say,” Leonard said of Ben Simmons. “So, just trying to operate, and not really trying to zone in on the one-on-one player, trying to get my teammates involved.”
The Raptors will try to get hot with the weapons that the Sixers are willing to live with. That means more of Leonard as a distributor, Gasol taking more shots that the defense gives him, and increased ball movement to break up crowds.
The Sixers will need to be ready. Embiid on Siakam seems like a matchup that will continue, but the Raptors might look to exploit Tobias Harris on Gasol.