Will Pascal Siakam find some rhythm in Game 6? Photo by @TheHoopCentral (Twitter)
- A Game 5 blowout has left the Toronto Raptors facing elimination on Wednesday
- Boston has a 3-2 series lead, putting them a win away from the Eastern Conference Finals and a probable matchup with the Miami Heat
- Get the latest odds, betting discussion and a pick ahead of a decisive Game 6 below
The Toronto Raptors had to do it the hard way in the 2019 playoffs. If they are to return to the Conference Finals in 2020, they will follow a similarly treacherous path having fallen 3-2 down to the Boston Celtics.
A blowout loss on Monday puts the Raps in the unenviable position of having to win two consecutive games to avoid elimination.
Despite a quiet night from Jayson Tatum, the Raptors could not keep pace with the Celtics in Game 5, resulting in a blowout loss. Boston led by as many as 30.
The Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics odds favor the C’s to get it done in Game 6.
Toronto Raptors vs Boston Celtics Game 6 Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline Odds at DraftKings||Total|
|Toronto Raptors||+3 (-110)||+125||O 210.5 (-110)|
|Boston Celtics||-3 (-110)||-150||U 210.5 (-110)|
Odds taken September 8th
Siakam Goes Missing
Only once in the regular season did Pascal Siakam take fewer than 10 shots. In 28 minutes on Monday, the Cameroonian took nine field goal attempts. The low total is partly due to playing so few minutes in a blowout, but this is also representative of a player who has been unable to influence this series.
Siakam is scoring 15 per game in the East’s semifinals with a 43% effective field goal percentage. His 93 offensive rating for the series shows how he has struggled against Boston’s switching – he has been unable to find a mismatch and has been short on options to create a shot off the bounce.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 8, 2020
A 35.9% three-point shooter in the regular season, Siakam has lost his outside shot. He’s just over 15% for the series, which has had a knock-on effect on the rest of the team. Clearly playing without confidence, greater pressure falls on Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry on the offensive end.
Siakam, who so many hoped could step up without Kawhi Leonard, is having what borders on a nightmare series. It could all turn around if he takes over in Game 6, however.
Broader Offensive Issues
This was a series likely to be defined by defense. Low-scoring games always seemed probable After a heavy loss on Monday, Toronto’s offensive rating for the series slipped to 99.2. For context: The worst offensive rating in the regular season was 105.93 by the Golden State Warriors.
🎙️ Postgame // Coach, KLow, Pascal, Fred
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) September 8, 2020
Some of this can be attributed to great Boston defense. The Celtics have been great at that end of the floor, but they have also exposed the weaknesses of this Toronto offense.
At least one of the guard duo of VanVleet and Lowry have often been met by a much bigger body in Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown or Tatum. Taking shots off the dribble is that much trickier, and this is a simple result of the construction of this Boston roster. They aren’t huge, but they have length and Kemba Walker (their supposed defensive weak spot) has improved markedly as a team defender.
Kemba Walker on his defense with the Celtics and in the playoffs: “I play hard. I just want to win. That’s all I can say. I just want to win.”
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) September 8, 2020
There’s also the more straight forward issue of the Raptors missing shots. They are under 31% from three for the series, and Serge Ibaka is the only one of their core players shooting 50% from the field. Toronto haven’t generated the best looks in this series, but they still should have scored more.
Raptors Fight Back
The Raptors season seemed to be over when they went 2-0 down. It looked like they were done until OG Anunoby hit that buzzer-beater. Writing off this Toronto team is always a mistake, even after a heavy loss in Game 5. They have the experience and talent to come back – they are going to make Boston work for this.
Maybe the shots just start falling, perhaps the Celtics have a few defensive lapses to allow the Raptors to get their transition game going. The under has hit in every game of this series so far, but it’s a harder one to call at 210.
Pick: Toronto Raptors +3 (-110)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.