We look at three storylines heading into the Eastern semis, as tasty individual matchups break out between the Raptors and Sixers. I might be dating myself, but it doesn’t feel like that long ago when another Eastern Conference Semifinal between the Raptors and 76ers felt like a right of passage.
The East was still learning to walk outside the shadow of an all-time great, multiple teams were clamouring for a Finals where the result appeared predetermined, and Toronto and Philadelphia — thanks to the presence of superstars — had as good a chance as anyone.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because 2001 and 2019 might be generations apart for the Raptors and Sixers, but both teams once again find themselves sniffing at the opportunity of a new era in the NBA. When last time it was Vince Carter and Allen Iverson carving out legacies after Michael Jordan’s retirement, this time Philly and Toronto find themselves building stock through numbers, bolstered by LeBron’s exit to Los Angeles.
After reaching their ceiling with DeMar DeRozan and Dwane Casey, the Raptors swung for Kawhi Leonard, started under a new coach, and added Marc Gasol at the trade deadline. Philadelphia, not content with continuing …
Author: John Gaudes / Raptors HQ