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How the Raptors jumped on 76ers from opening tip

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The Toronto Raptors led for almost the entirety of Game 5 against the 76ers and it started with relentless activity on both ends in the first quarter. Listen to the full recap and preview of Game 6 on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.

Video Transcript

IMMAN ADAN: And that's not what we saw happen. What were your thoughts on what you saw in game five?

AMIT MANN: Imman, first I'll start off that I thought the Raptors had a real shot at winning this series in five games at the beginning. Because I just think that they are just a really tough match-up for the 76ers. I was talking to Yaron Weitzman about it, and that's what I said. I said that maybe the Raptors have some game one jitters, as that might happen. But I think they are just a match-up that is just all for the cooking against the 76ers.

Because there's mismatches everywhere. You look at James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris to a smaller extent, although he's done a pretty good job against Pascal Siakam. But there's so many ways that the Raptors can just expose you in a playoff offensive format. And I think we saw more of that as, you know what? The Raptors are getting healthier. It's kind of that simple.

Thad Young is in your rotation now. Scottie Barnes is getting healthier and healthier. And I would imagine that he's probably going to be at his best version, come game six, with a few days off. And we saw more of that in game five. The Raptors, they started off really, really strong. You saw right off the bat, first possession, OG Anunoby has a mismatch and gets a little mid-range jumper.

And then James Harden, just being very lackadaisical, doing James Harden things. Not recognizing the moment and understanding how important it is to start games off right. He just throws a turnover. And then Khem Birch hits a three. I'm just like, whoa, now this is getting wild. I looked it up.

He's hit two threes all season, and that is in this series. And I'm like, so things are going pretty well. And then Pascal hits the three. I'm like, now we're cooking. This is a really good start for the Raptors. Your thoughts?

IMMAN ADAN: No. I think you hit the nail on the head. And when we're talking about the Raptors, I was also higher on the Raptors. I thought that they could win this series. And for the exact reasons that you just stated. But what we saw in games one and two was not-- I hate saying this. It's not just that they lost that I'm saying it's not Raptors basketball.

But we didn't see that. And I do think a large part of this-- and we can get to it-- is Fred VanVleet's injury. And when he's out there, he's not a mismatch. He's someone that we see James Harden and Tyrese Maxey can really go at. Because he is obviously very labored, with a bad knee and a hip injury. And if he's not out there pitting 40% from deep, I'm like [INAUDIBLE] the game. He becomes a little bit of a liability-- or a lot a bit of a liability. And what we saw in games one and two was the Raptors' defense being what lost them the game.

I kept seeing people talk about "the Raptors just don't have enough offensive firepower to keep pace with James Harden and Joel Embiid". And it's like, well, yeah. But that's not how-- the Raptors don't have enough offensive firepower to hang with lots of people. Like, that's not how the Raptors win games. They win games defensively.

And that's not what they were doing in those other games. Game five, on the flip side, it wasn't so much their offense. It was the fact that they held the Sixers to 88 points. And the Sixers had 16 free throws. So think about that! I mean, made 16 free throws. They took 20. So like, 88 points, it's really their defense. And it is 100% that there are just tons of mismatches on the offensive end that the Raptors can exploit.

But also, Parris Maxey is now seeing a bunch of 6' 9" guys with seven foot wingspans crowding him. And he's just not able to get those floater ups in the way that he was able to in games one and two when there was a guy that he could go at. And so I really think we're just seeing Vision 6' 9" at its fullest. Another thing that I kept hearing from people is, "well, the Raptors just don't have a center. They can't really guard and beat."

And I think I was of that mind at one point early on in the season. But the more that I buy into Vision 6' 9" I'm like, but look at this. Look at how they're able to just throw a bunch of guys. And game six can happen-- and we can talk about this in a second-- and Embiid can score 50 points and it can all be for naught. But that is a lot of work for a guy throughout an entire series.

So we're seeing what Vision 6' 9" really looks like. And that's exactly what we got in game five. I just thought it was a brilliant performance from Scottie Barnes, from Gary Trent, from Khem Birch. Even though I know a lot of people were down on him, especially for that third quarter. But you mentioned it, he hit those threes in the beginning. He's a big body.

He's getting in there, he's frustrating Embiid. And Precious, my goodness. Precious is just a delight to watch.

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