Countrymen Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam kick off trash talk ahead of series

Countrymen Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam kick off trash talk ahead of series

The teams have not met since February 5 - a 119-107 win for Toronto in Philadelphia - and both have different looks going into the playoff series.

The 76ers are first in pace and have the third-ranked offensive rating so that should make for an interesting series.

"Both have had a lot of changes throughout the year", Toronto forward Pascal Siakam said. "Just like any great player, you try to make everything as uncomfortable as possible, be as physical as they allow you". That was despite solid numbers from Embiid, who averaged 26.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, three assists and 1.8 blocks.

Buoyed by the offseason additions of Leonard and guard Danny Green, plus trade deadline pickup Marc Gasol, these Raptors are focussed on a conference finals berth, and maybe more.

After starting 51 games, Serge Ibaka has made a smooth transition into a reserve role in the second half of the season and is averaging an efficient 9.4 points and 7.9 boards in almost 20.6 minutes per game in the playoffs.

During Gasol's time in Memphis, the club was 3-2 versus Philadelphia. Toronto is 2-14 all-time in Game 1s. "I know that's probably not what you're talking about or how they're sharing the ball with each and all that stuff, but to me they're being such great leaders with the effort they're putting forth on the defensive end that I don't think anyone else who comes on the floor has any option but to play defence because your two leaders are out there giving themselves up, playing hard, getting down, blocking shots, tipping balls, rebounding, blocking out". "The difference is simple: It's spacing". After the all-star break in mid-February, the Raptors shot better than 41% from three-point range, best in the National Basketball Association.

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam is also looking forward to facing Embiid. Embiid is from Yaounde, Siakam from Douala, and those are Cameroon's two biggest cities.

"That's always been this little rivalry between Douala, where I'm from, and Yaounde, where he's from", Siakam said. Exploiting Marjanovic by forcing him outside the paint is a tactic the Raptors should definitely turn to when presented the opportunity.

"I think it'll be a big deal (for fans in Cameroon) for sure".

The free-agent-in-waiting said he hasn't thought about what could happen July 1 yet.

Scott is now ailing and seems likely to miss Game 1, if not more, with a heel injury.

The two teams haven't met since Toronto's 119-107 road win February 5.

Brown called the Raptors "a hell of a defensive team" and wants to find space for Simmons to operate freely on the court because "we can't have him play in a crowd". Toronto is 34-10 at home, including playoffs, this season and has won 21 of its last 24 games versus Philadelphia.

It certainly was in the Orlando series, where Toronto's starters were as dominant as those of any team in the playoffs, save Milwaukee, which smashed an underhanded Detroit team in four straight. "It's still trying to get better", Embiid said. He really stepped up to the challenge against Brooklyn and seemed to perform better as the series went on. Butler's low turnover rate - 6.9 percent during the regular season, the lowest of any current Sixers regular - is an important quality for this team, which still sometimes struggles with coughing the ball up.

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