CAMDEN, N.J. — Considering the depth of the Toronto Raptors, the Sixers possibly missing a key part of their bench is not ideal.
Mike Scott, who is essentially the team’s sixth man, is listed as day to day with a heel contusion and plantar fasciitis. Scott left Game 5 Tuesday against the Nets late in the second quarter and did not return. We’ll know more about his status for Game 1 when the official injury report comes out at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
When asked if he was game planning for Scott to play, Brett Brown bluntly said, “no.” Brown mentioned it would be a “blessing” if Scott were to be available.
While his veteran savvy, toughness and shot-making — especially in Game 4 — will clearly be missed, Scott’s versatility will be crucial in this series. With Boban Marjanovic, it’s hard to know what you’ll get. He was excellent in the Brooklyn series, but could be a poor matchup against Serge Ibaka, who the Raptors have been using as their backup five.
Scott offers the ability to play backup five if Marjanovic struggles. Ibaka is lethal in pick-and-pop situation with his midrange jumper. While Ibaka may be tough for Scott to deal with in the post, he’s a much better option for pick-and-roll defense.
Kawhi Leonard is really freaking good. That’s not breaking news, but it’s a point being drilled into the Sixers as the team is being pelted with questions about the All-Star forward.
Leonard is arguably the best two-way player in the league and has killed the Sixers this season, averaging 30.3 points a game and tormenting Ben Simmons defensively.
Brown, who was with the Spurs as an assistant when Leonard was coming up, acknowledged some of the issues Simmons and the Sixers have had against Leonard. Brown didn’t want to put too much stock into the regular season matchups, but has ideas on how to help his young point guard deal with the former Defensive Player of the Year.
“Obviously, I’m not going to tell you,” Brown said. “Maybe the knowledge I have coaching him [will help]. The history we’ve had having a little bit of success [against him], some unsuccessful that we have to do better at. We hope that we’re studied. I believe we are. He still remains an All-Star and one of the great players in the NBA for a reason.”
After having arguably the best regular season of his career, Leonard has carried it over into the postseason. He averaged 27.8 points a game in the Raptors’ first-round matchup against the Magic while shooting 56 percent from the field and a ridiculous 54 percent on 5.2 three per game.
“Kawhi is a bonafide superstar in this league,” JJ Redick said. “There’s only a handful of guys like that spread over 30 teams much less 16 teams in the playoffs.”
Does he look all the way back from the quad issues he dealt with in San Antonio?
“I think he looks better,” Redick said. “Yeah, he’s pretty damn good.”
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