With at least 1 key player missing, Raptors fans not worried ahead of Game 2 against 76ers

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, centre left, goes up for the shot against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of Game 1 of their first-round playoff series in Philadelphia on Saturday.  (Chris Szagola/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, centre left, goes up for the shot against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of Game 1 of their first-round playoff series in Philadelphia on Saturday. (Chris Szagola/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Still feeling the sting from a 20-point loss over the weekend, Toronto Raptors fans are hopeful the team will tie the first-round NBA playoff series in Game 2 Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

But with at least one key player ruled out — and another two likely to sit out as well — that's easier said than done.

However, fans say they aren't worried.

"I think they [have] bounced back before," said Shevone White, who was among those braving Monday's spring snowstorm to cheer on the team at Jurassic Park outside Scotiabank Arena ahead of the game.

"We can't let the injuries affect us."

Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes had an excellent playoff debut in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series on Saturday in Philadelphia, scoring 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. That was before Sixers centre Joel Embiid stepped on his foot with just over nine minutes left to play.

The 20-year-old, who is a finalist for NBA rookie of the year honours, will be out for Game 2.

"I thought it was going to be bad," Barnes said, while wearing a walking boot on his sprained left ankle at Monday morning's shootaround.

But he said his ankle is "feeling better each and every day" and he remains a very "positive, happy human being."

Chris Szagola/AP Photo
Chris Szagola/AP Photo

Meanwhile, Gary Trent Jr., who has a non-COVID illness, and Thaddeus Young, who has a sprained left thumb, are both listed as "doubtful."

Centre Khem Birch, who absorbed an elbow to the face from Embiid, told reporters Sunday that the Raptors need to be "more physical" in their next game.

Fans brave storm to cheer at Jurassic Park

Still, fans insist the team can win despite the battering the Raps have taken.

"We're the Raptors, we always come from behind," said Shervin Ejtehadi, referring to the many times the team battled back to win the NBA championship in 2019.

Kojo Yeboah agrees.

"We have to move on from the past," he said just hours before the start of Game 2.

"This is the game ... we have to push through it."

To do that, head coach Nick Nurse says the team will have to boost their defensive play, which will be more difficult than normal with the absence of Barnes.

Courtesy of Sportsnet
Courtesy of Sportsnet

The Raps will also have to play to their long-established strengths, including offensive rebounding, and other players will have to step up their game to even the series.

"We have Siakam, we got VanVleet ... we can pull through," Yeboah said, adding that the team just needs to keep Philly from scoring three-pointers.

'We all got to step up'

Players are also keeping a positive attitude.

"We've been through adversity as a team and we've definitely showed that we can bounce back and figure it out," said Pascal Siakam, who scored a team-high of 24 points on Saturday.

"Everyone got to step up. We all got to step up."

While the players are steeling themselves for a hostile environment on the road, Siakam said the players will come out "a lot more aggressive" in Monday's game.

Tip off for Game 2 is at 7:30 p.m.. The Raptors will then head home for Game 3 on Wednesday.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting