Ok, not really, the East is actually much more competitive at the top than it has been for years. Though these teams are two of the best, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are the more immediate obstacle. But enough looking ahead, who do you have tonight?
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors
When: 5:00 pm PST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
What to watch: Joel Embiid’s wheels
He’s currently listed as available, but anyone who’s been watching knows Embiid is far from fully healthy. Nursing a troublesome knee injury, the star has been... adequate. Though he only managed 12 points in their game two win, his solid defensive presence and ability to pull defenders in with him.
They’ll be back in front of their home crowd, so hopefully the energy gives Embiid the boost he’ll need to play through the discomfort and loss of mobility.
What else to watch: Butler vs. Kawhi
Kawhi Leonard is one of the top players in the NBA. Depending on how heavily you value durability/availability and leadership, he’s either a top 5 or top 10 player, at worst. Jimmy Butler is a half-tier below that. Though he tiptoes around superstardom, most of the news he’s made this year was all related to clowning his teammates and forcing one of the most interesting non-free agent departures in my memory.
And this. This is impressively petty.
Before Game 1, Kawhi Leonard shot around on his home court despite team not doing it, pushing opponents shootaround back. This morning, Jimmy Butler is doing the same.— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) May 2, 2019
Philadelphia had one of the NBA’s best home records (31-10) this season, and they’ll need every advantage they can get to pull out a win tonight.