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James Harden Must Step Up His Game Against the Raptors in the Playoffs

James Harden hasn’t had the best regular season for the 76ers. He’s averaging 21 points per game, his lowest total since 2011-12 when he looked more like this guy.

It seems like he’s a step slower but maybe that will change in the playoffs?

Harden and Joel Embiid, one of the favorites to win the MVP award have chemistry. Will that be enough to beat the Toronto Raptors?

The 76ers will still be without Matisse Thybulle for Games 3 and 4 in Toronto. He’s unvaccinated and Ontario has a law in place prohibiting unvaccinated players from participating in any sport. So will this cost the 76ers in the series?

The Raptors have home-court advantage. Pascal Siakam is coming in hot, and he will have Embiid in his way trying to prevent him from scoring making this one of the pivotal matchups in the series.

An X-Factor for the Raptors is Fred VanVleet. He’s been able to add his excellent defensive pressure to help double Embiid. His deflections, steals, and blocks are just as important as the number of points he might score. He could be disruptive and a thorn in the 76ers’ sides.

Odds for the 76ers match against the Raptors have opened as Philadelphia are 4.5-point favorites to win Game 1. The Raptors being in the playoffs this season comes at a great time for fans in the North because Canadian apps for wagering online launched earlier this month. Albeit only Ontario has launched but it’s still a historic moment for Canadian sports fans. Take the time to research which site works best for you ahead of the game on Saturday.

Prediction: 76ers in seven. It will be a hard-fought series but Philadelphia has Embiid who can be a force of nature and I expect him to do that in the first round.

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