WOLSTAT: Will there be a third Raptors-Sixers 7 game?

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Somehow, the Raptors-Sixers series is 3-2. In the first meeting, the Raptors lost a 1-0 and 2-1 series lead, rallied 3-2 and forced Game 7, which came down to a miss by Vince Carter. In another game, the Sixers took a 2-1 lead but won Game 6, only to lose in Game 7 to Kawhi Leonard’s throw for the ages.

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What will happen this time… can the Raptors win again to get another Game 7?

Various thoughts while we wait to see what happens next:

“It’s pretty remarkable that point guards Pascal Siakam and Scotty Barnes didn’t make any turnovers in the second half of Game 5. You’d think the Raptors would be in trouble without a point guard on the floor, but these unique talents ensured that wasn’t the case.

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Have the doubters of Siakam eaten enough crows yet? During his first All-Star appearance 26 months ago, he told me one-on-one about where he would go next: “I’m not attached to anything. I never put a limit on what I can achieve, and I’m not going to start now.

What a trip it was for Siakam. From hero to goat and back to hero. What a rebirth. LeBron James warned during that All-Star weekend when asked about Siakam, “It is not promised that you will be here (at the All-Star Game) next year. But judging by the way he plays, he’ll probably be here a lot,” James said. And he looks right on both counts.

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How far can Siakam go? Kawhi Leonard has closed big playoff games the same way Siakam has done the last two. Vince Carter did that sometimes. Demar DeRozan and Chris Bosh never played for the Raptors. And he did it with star Fred VanVleet and outstanding rookie Barnes showing far less than 100%.

— OG Anunoby thrived on the biggest stage. He was dangerous on offense but even more effective on defense. Anunobi, being a key part of the volatile group of long-armed disruptors used by the Predators, was nothing short of a menace. Whether he’s harassing James Harden, going all out against Joel Embiid, or limiting Tyreese Maxi, Anunobi is essentially holding a defensive masterclass.

Harden is by no means the same, but he doesn’t seem to be able to do anything against Anunobi. It should be noted that even when he was the MVP favorite, Harden had problems with big nights against Anunobi. It was the rookie version that held Harden 8-25 on shooting in a win over the Raptors, and then also had two of Harden’s worst shooting games the following season.

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“Anunobi is as good as it gets defensively. The only thing keeping him from picking up votes and making the all-defensive team is how many games he misses each season.

– Ja Morant became the most progressing player (it doesn’t make sense to me, he was already an unmistakable all star player, it would be similar to how last year’s sixth-placed Luka Doncic won last year), but has anyone improved like a lot in season like Precious Achiuwa? And he hasn’t finished yet. He gets better as these playoffs progress. Joel Embiid looked exhausted and Achiuva took it right at him. This needs to be continued.

Didn’t expect Khem Birch to start after not playing after six minutes of the first quarter in Game 4. Birch was good in that game but it looks like they wanted to attack more from their center. Instead, he returned and had a great first few minutes before fading away. All eight players in the Raptors rotation gave their all, and each of them contributed to the victory in a real team game.

“As for the Sixers, Tobias Harris had the worst game of the series and Tyrese Maxey was also calm.

“I was surprised to see Danny Green’s 14-point line on 4-9 three-point shots. An eye test showed that it was a terrible performance by Green (he had three or four airballs), but he landed a few hits and most of his teammates couldn’t say the same.

“I would be shocked to see VanVleet ready for Thursday, but who knows.

THREE STARS FOR GAME 5

1 – Pascal Siakam

2 – OG Anunobi

3 – Precious Achiuwa

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