It's Game 7, which means everything and then some is at stake. Not much more needs to be said.
Paul Hudrick and Noah Levick give their predictions.
This series has been anything but predictable, but we’ve made a futile attempt to predict each game of this series so there’s no point in stopping now.
It’ll be interesting to see how Brett Brown handles his rotation. He mentioned possibly playing seven guys. It’s not ideal, but it’s likely the best strategy. None of the Sixers’ backup centers have proven they can hang in this series. The best bet is to go small with Mike Scott and James Ennis being the only players to get off the bench.
We know Jimmy Butler will show up as he has all series. This game, and any potential run thereafter, will depend on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. If Embiid is just healthy enough and Simmons takes a similar approach to the one from Game 6, the Sixers are going to be tough to beat.
Kawhi Leonard has been a one-man show for most of the series, but has cooled in the last two. In a do-or-die game, expect Leonard to rise to the occasion. The Raptors’ second-best offensive player has been Pascal Siakam, but he’s shot just 39 percent since a scalding hot Game 1. Toronto’s supporting cast has been underwhelming, but as Game 5 showed, there are capable players in there.
Winning a Game 7 on the road is no easy task. The Sixers haven’t done it since the 1982 Eastern Conference Finals in Boston.
Before the series began, I had Toronto in seven. It’s been a crapshoot from game to game. When both teams have played at their best, the Sixers have looked like the more talented team.
See you in Milwaukee.
There are plenty of important strategic questions for Brown and the Sixers in this game. Does Brown go with a seven-man rotation? How does he avoid disaster when Embiid leaves the game? How much would he be willing to tolerate Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Co. making some of the open threes they missed in Game 6 before he changes his defensive game plan?
That said, the fundamental question of this series for the Sixers has simply been which version of the team will show up. Embiid and Simmons have mixed poor performances with sensational showings. Tobias Harris has been consistent but underwhelming offensively, scoring between nine and 16 points in every game. Butler has been the team's one reliable star.
The central storyline for the Sixers remains Embiid's health. If he's fit enough to play 45 minutes, as he said he was willing to after Game 6, the Sixers have a good chance to win in Toronto. He did not look near his best Thursday night and the Sixers still outscored the Raptors by 40 points when he was on the floor.
I expect Embiid will play well in Game 7, but I can't envision Brown actually playing him 45 minutes. I think the Sixers will suffer when Embiid sits, Leonard will finish a special series with an excellent performance, and the Raptors will edge out the Sixers on their home floor. At this stage, though, little would surprise me.
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.