3 keys for the Raptors in order to pull off insane 76ers upset

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors and James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors and James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
TORONTO, ON – APRIL 23: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers and OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors lock arms in the second half of Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors staved off elimination for at least one more game when they pulled off a home victory against the Philadelphia 76ers with their backs against the wall. In order to win this series and become the first playoff team to advance after being down 3-0, Toronto will need to win two more games on the road in Philly.

The odds are looking long, to say the least. On top of the fact that Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes is likely less than 100% healthy due to an ankle ailment, Fred VanVleet is dealing with both a nagging knee injury and some hip pain that he picked up during the Game 4 win. 40% of the starters are playing injured in this matchup.

Dealing with all of those problems while simultaneously figuring out how to corral Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey is not going to be an easy task for Nick Nurse to figure out. While nearly everything seems stacked against them, there is a path for the Raptors to do the unthinkable and hand Doc Rivers another crushing loss.

The Raptors can take down the 76ers if they managed to check these 3 boxes. Toronto has proven that they can beat this team if they can play at their best, and they will need to be at nothing short of their best if they want to end up somehow taking Philly down.

3 things the Toronto Raptors must do to upset the 76ers.

3. Win the non-Embiid minutes

Even in his injured state, Toronto needs to be wary of the fact that Embiid could take any game over if he gets his way in the paint. Luckily for Toronto, Game 4 proved that they can win the minutes when he is off the floor if they have the right combination of schematic inventiveness and rotation variation.

Thad Young proved that he is worth every penny of his salary in Game 4, as he was making mid-range shots with ease while crashing the boards and defending well. Even without VanVleet in the game due to his hip problem, Toronto’s length bothered the 76ers in the second half.

The Toronto Raptors must dominate without Joel Embiid.

The Raptors might not have the most robust bench situation, but a three-man group consisting of Shake Milton, Paul Reed, and Georges Niang should not be the most difficult bunch in the world for Nurse to defend. Precious Achiuwa will be key to limiting this trio.

The 76ers have the luxury of playing both Harden and Maxey without Embiid on the floor, so Toronto is likely not going to get much time for respite in the remaining games. The bench came through once in this series, and they’ll need to do it again in the remaining few games.