Well, that was ugly.
The Toronto Raptors' 20-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers wasn't exactly the start to the post-season that many basketball fans were expecting. After all, Toronto had steamrolled into the playoffs as one of the NBA's hottest teams. Most forecasters labelled the Raptors the most dangerous underdog in the first round.
Then on Saturday, things went "splat."
Philadelphia put on a virtual shooting clinic, hammering the badly-outgunned Raptors 131-111. The score could have been worse, however Philadelphia went into several delays and called off the fireworks in the second half. This was an ass kicking.
Now, the Sixers Toronto better regroup fast, as Game 2 tips off in Philadelphia on Monday night.
In Game 1, Toronto was behind the entire way. They were down 8 points after the first quarter, then 18 at the half.
Later, things went from bad to worse early in the fourth quarter when Raptors star rookie Scottie Barnes suffered an ankle injury and had to be helped off the floor. He did not return to the game. Not much went right all day long and there's nothing positive to takeaway from the defeat other than it's over and time to look forward. Nonetheless, the Raptors better start playing some defence.
The Sixers shot a killer 51 percent from the field and also sank 16 of 32 three-pointers. Those numbers are hard to top for any NBA team. However, hot hands or not, the Raptors better answer with some stops and blocks and rebounds in Game 2 and beyond, or this series is going to be over before next weekend.
Here at POINSTSPREADS.CA, we touted the Raptors as a live dog to win the series (+150). We also loved Toronto to take at least one of the opening two games in Philadelphia. That sets up a huge game, especially for the Raptors on Monday night.
"Must win" is used way too often in sports. However, given the spot the Raptors are in, this next game is huge. Falling behind 0-2 to a team as potent as the Sixers is a recipe for disaster.