Predictions for Game 6 of Sixers vs. Raptors playoff series

Predictions for Game 6 of Sixers vs. Raptors playoff series

The Sixers' season is on the line Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center after an historically bad loss in Game 5. Paul Hudrick and Noah Levick give their predictions for Game 6.


The Sixers let a golden opportunity slip away in Game 4 and now find themselves on the brink of elimination.

As far as Game 5 goes, these things do happen in the playoffs. The last time the Sixers lost that badly in the postseason was Game 1 of the 1982 Eastern Conference Finals. Julius Erving and company wound up winning a Game 7 in Boston to advance to the NBA Finals. That’s not to say history will repeat itself, but just that playoff series are like that sometimes.

Who knows which Joel Embiid we’ll get in Game 6. He appeared to be moving OK on Tuesday night, but he committed eight turnovers and seemed to make a bunch of mental mistakes. Jimmy Butler cooled off a little but should bounce back Thursday night. Any contributions offensively from Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and/or JJ Redick would be a nice boon.

Beyond Embiid, the biggest fear has to be that the Sixers didn’t capitalize on Kawhi Leonard’s only off night of the series. Leonard was just 7 of 16 as Simmons did about as good a job as you can do. Leonard’s supporting cast finally seemed to wake up with Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Danny Green all finally contributing offensively.

It all comes back to Embiid. When he’s right, like he was in Game 3, the Sixers are incredibly difficult to beat. If that Embiid shows up, like he said he would postgame on Tuesday, they can force a Game 7.

The problem is you just can’t trust Embiid at this point. The Sixers put up a fight, but their season ends Thursday.


Brett Brown said on a conference call Wednesday that there wouldn't be a "witch hunt" after Game 5, but the Sixers would "completely delve into the tape." He hinted at some marginal changes for Game 6, though it didn't sound like he had anything dramatic planned.

While Brown could get desperate by doing things like giving Jonah Bolden major minutes over Greg Monroe, only showing Leonard single coverage, or shifting Simmons to more of a traditional point guard role, the Sixers are trusting their fundamental principles for this series. Realistically, they don't have the time to do anything else.

I was very, very  wrong in picking the Sixers in Game 5. The notion that they're the "better team" looks silly after what happened Tuesday night. While I don't think they're nearly as bad as they were Monday, and while I'd be surprised if Embiid's perpetual health issues lead to a third straight subpar game, it's difficult to believe the Sixers can turn things around enough to force a Game 7, whether or not they're a "prideful team." I'll pick Toronto to close it out.

All that said, we all know by now how volatile this Sixers team is. Who knows ... maybe they'll win by 36.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers' Ben Simmons calls President Donald Trump 'cowardly'

USA Today Images

Sixers' Ben Simmons calls President Donald Trump 'cowardly'

Some star athletes might be worried about taking public stances that won’t sit well with a segment of the population and align with a carefully crafted individual brand. 

Ben Simmons has made it clear he’s not concerned about that at the moment.

After retweeting several tweets that frankly criticized President Donald Trump, the Sixers’ point guard shared the following message early Tuesday morning:

In 2017, Simmons had called Trump "an idiot" after he'd referred to NFL players who protested by kneeling on the field during the national anthem as "sons of bitches." 

Monday night, members of the police and National Guard had cleared a crowd of protestors in Washington, D.C., by “firing rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas and flash-bang grenades into the crowd,” according to NBC News, so that Trump could pose for photos with a bible outside of St. John’s Episcopal Church. 

Before that incident, Trump delivered a speech at the Rose Garden in which he threatened military force, saying governors should deploy the National Guard to “dominate the streets” as protests continue across America following the death of George Floyd.

A 46-year-old black man, Floyd was killed last week in police custody. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was recorded on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes and has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other officers on the scene, Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, were fired but have not been charged. 

Simmons and other Sixers players, including Tobias Harris, Mike Scott and Josh Richardson, have vocally opposed racism and police brutality in the aftermath of Floyd’s killing. Harris joined protestors in Philadelphia on Saturday and has remained active on social media. 

On Monday, the third day of protests in the city, protestors shut down I-676. Police officers then pushed them off the road and fired tear gas

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

2020 NBA draft profile: Payton Pritchard's elite ball handling, unlimited range should entice Sixers

2020 NBA draft profile: Payton Pritchard's elite ball handling, unlimited range should entice Sixers

Payton Pritchard

Position: PG
Height: 6-2
Weight: 190
School: Oregon

The NCAA Tournament being cancelled will likely affect several draft prospects. Oregon’s Payton Pritchard seems to be one of them. The senior guard led the Ducks to a 24-7 record and the team won the Pac-12 regular season title with a 13-5 mark. Pritchard leading a strong tourney run could’ve helped his draft stock.

As it stands, Pritchard’s resume is still pretty darn impressive. He was a consensus All-American in 2019-20 and won Pac-12 Player of the Year. He averaged 20.5. points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in his final collegiate season.


Pritchard has a reputation as a tireless worker and dogged competitor. As mentioned, he was the true leader of an Oregon team that had a chance to do serious damage in the NCAA Tournament. He excelled in a much larger scoring role his senior season.

He seems to have the ball on a string with advanced handling skills. His father told a reporter that his son practices dribbling “until his hands bleed.” While he’s not the most explosive guard, his ability to change speeds and understanding of when to do so is a huge asset.

He also has good vision and awareness. Despite a high usage rate, Pritchard’s turnover numbers didn’t grow exponentially. He averaged 4.6 assists and two turnovers a game during his time in Eugene.

Outside of a down season in 2018-19, Pritchard has proven to be an elite shooter. He’s fearless with unlimited range. This play against Washington in overtime got a much deserved “ONIONS!” call from Bill Raftery.

That game was sort of a microcosm of Pritchard. Oregon struggled against Washington’s zone for much of the game. Pritchard patiently picked his spots but took over at times when his team needed him to.

Despite being just 6-foot-2, Pritchard is solidly built and did flash potential as an off-ball defender with 1.5 steals a game. He’s also a solid rebounder for his height, which helps him be able to push the pace.


The height will likely be an issue at the next level. He also doesn’t have long arms or the lateral quickness it would seem to take to defend NBA guards. It’s hard to gauge against the zone, but he may also struggle to battle through screens.

He’s not particularly athletic or explosive. Though his ball handling skills are excellent, he does struggle to turn the corner on quicker defenders. The lack of explosion also led to him struggling to finish against length at the rim.

While he has NBA skills, he does not possess a strong physical NBA profile.


As a player that can play with and back up Ben Simmons, Pritchard could be a decent fit. Pritchard's ability as a shooter and advanced ball handling would mesh well with Simmons' elite ability as a screener and roller. Simmons’ size and defensive prowess could help cover Pritchard’s deficiencies. 

While he took on a scoring role this season, Pritchard isn’t the type of player to force things. As a point guard that likes to push the ball up the floor, he could fit in well with the Sixers’ pace and space style.

Because of his lack of height and athleticism, he will likely be around for the Sixers in the middle of the second round. He seems worth a flyer there because of his steady improvement and work ethic. He's not the type of player you bet against despite his physical limitations.

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers