Five most anticipated games for the Toronto Raptors in 2019

Toronto Raptors - Marc Gasol (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Marc Gasol (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors – Kyle Lowry (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

3. vs Philadelphia 76ers – November 25

Depending on your views around both teams heading into the season, this game could well feel like a passing of the torch moment. Last year, no team ran the Toronto Raptors closer to elimination than the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Eastern Conference Semi-Finals presented the Toronto Raptors with their toughest task of the playoffs as the Sixers took them to seven games. We all know how it ended. The first-ever Game 7 buzzer-beater in NBA playoff history. One of the greatest moments in the history of the league, no hyperbole.

This offseason, the Sixers have made a litany of intriguing moves, flexing their muscles and showing the league that they are set on this being the team’s window. Despite losing Jimmy Butler, who may have been the Sixers saving grace in the postseason, Philadelphia managed to come out on top, maybe having one of the best offseasons in the league.

In the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat, the Sixers managed to acquire Josh Richardson, a superb shooting guard who can stretch the court and defend aggressively. He’ll slot into the void left by J.J. Redick, who departed in July to sign with the Pelicans.

The Sixers bucked the trend of teams going small by signing Al Horford to join Joel Embiid in a traditionally large frontcourt, zigging when the rest of the league is zagging. That frontcourt, mixed with Richardson, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons, creates the biggest starting line-up in the NBA, but also one of the most talented.

This meeting will be the first team the two teams will have met since the playoffs, and it’ll be the first chance for the Raptors to get an in-house look at one of the main contenders to overthrow them and take the crown.

Reigning champs versus the contenders. The narrative writes itself.