3 reasons Toronto could win head-to-head games against the 76ers


DETROIT, MICHIGAN – MARCH 29: Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse (Photo by Nic Antaya / Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors have been the dominant team in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division in the NBA for almost a decade. Since 2013, the Raptors have made seven consecutive playoffs, won the Atlantic Division six times, made two Eastern Conference Finals and won a championship.

They were an Eastern Conference playoff game until last season, when they missed the NBA playoffs for the first time in eight years. This offseason has brought some significant changes to the Raptors roster, with the biggest moves being the departure of Kyle Lowry and the addition of Scottie Barnes.

Two years away from an NBA title, the Raptors will run this season with reduced expectations.

Rivals in the Atlantic Division of Toronto are expected to once again surpass them in the standings. At least one-on-one, that may not necessarily be the case for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Philadelphia has been good in 2021, winning 49 of 72 games to win the Atlantic Division title and the best Eastern Conference regular season record. However, all of the hype around Philadelphia in recent years has never materialized into a deep playoff run.

2021/22 could be the year they stand out from the Eastern Conference squad as a contender, but there are issues that will make it difficult to beat the Raptors in head-to-head matches.

3 ways the Toronto Raptors could win games against the 76ers.

3. Coaching staff

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse enjoyed immediate and overwhelming success early in his coaching career. Replacing former long-term head coach Dwane Casey in 2018, Nurse led the Raptors to a championship in his rookie season. The team failed to make a second straight ECF in 2020 after a classic streak against Boston in the second round.

Last season, the team was moved to Florida due to COVID-19 protocols and the pandemic severely affecting the team. On top of that, several assistant coaches have left for other opportunities ahead of the season.

Despite all of this, Nurse has proven her quality in keeping everyone together. Doc Rivers is a potential Hall of Famer, but he has his flaws.

Is Doc Rivers’ first role as head coach over?

Rivers replaced Brett Brown as head coach of the 76ers last season. Although they had a good regular season, they failed to make it through the second round of the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. Rivers, although he has made two final matches and won one, has a slight reputation as a “smothering artist”.

Although I think basketball is the most ‘player-driven’ league in all professional sports, and you should always blame the talent on the court before you turn your attention to the coaching staff… (Rivers ) is a guy who has now made a bit of a name for himself as one of the worst “chokers” in professional basketball.

Nurse and the Raptors could have a head-to-head advantage over Philadelphia this season from a purely schematic standpoint, particularly in the clutch, but also because of other issues that will test Rivers’ leadership at Philly.

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