NBA Playoff Predictions: 76ers Face Daunting Challenge Against Raptors In Game 6

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid warms up before an NBA game.
Wikimedia | Blueairforce

Bob Garcia IV

The Philadelphia 76ers pushed the Toronto Raptors to the brink of playoff elimination after the first three games of their first-round series.

However, the Raptors have answered the bell, winning the last two contests. As Toronto holds the chance to force an all-or-nothing Game 7, here's what to expect for Game 6 on Thursday night.

76ers' First-Round Playoff Struggles Are Creating Doubt

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid
Wikimedia | Wow

The 76ers entered the 2022 playoffs holding championship-or-bust expectations.

Philadelphia showcased much promise through the first three games of the first-round series against the Raptors. However, Toronto tallied back-to-back wins, cropping up questions concerning the 76ers' chances to make a deep postseason push.

All that puts tremendous pressure on Philadelphia to close out the series on the road to avoid an all-or-nothing Game 7 on their home floor.

76ers Must Avoid A Game 7 Against the Raptors

Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet
Wikimedia | Dudek1337

The Raptors hold all the momentum heading into Game 6 after a convincing road win at Wells Fargo Center.

Toronto dictated the pace and played with plenty of intensity to extend the series. The 76ers looked out of sorts, as James Harden's continued offensive struggles are becoming more difficult to ignore.

The pressure is on Philadelphia to avoid Game 7 as Toronto has shown they are more than capable of showing up with their backs against the wall. Scotiabank Arena will be electric as the Raptors' passionate crowd will create an intense playoff environment.

If the 76ers start the game flat, the Raptors will steamroll their way to forcing Game 7.

James Harden's Scoring Struggles Continue

Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden
Wikimedia | Flickr upload bot

As Joel Embiid continues to play at an MVP-caliber level averaging 24.8 points and 11.6 rebounds, Harden's offensive struggles are increasingly difficult to brush aside.

The star guard has looked like a shell of himself since joining the 76ers. In the 21 regular-season games, he averaged 21.0 points and 10.5 assists but shot only 40.2% from the floor and 32.6% from 3-point range.

His scoring struggles have continued in the playoffs, averaging 18.4 points on 37.3% shooting from the field. Harden may be averaging a near double-double with 9.2 assists per contest, but his play is far below his norm.

The 10-time All-Star needs to be the difference-maker he has shown throughout his career if the 76ers hope to advance to the next round, let alone vying for an NBA title.

Game 6 Prediction: Raptors Will Force A Game 7

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid attempts a free throw.
Wikimedia | Blueairforce

At this point, it's extremely difficult to trust the 76ers despite how impressive they looked through the first three games of the series.

The Raptors hold all the momentum while playing on their home floor will give them the extra motivation and energy to force a Game 7. ESPN has the 76ers possessing a 55.9% chance of securing the win, while FiveThirtyEight gives Toronto a 50% win probability.

Philadelphia must come out strong early if there is any hope of avoiding a Game 7, but all signs are pointing to that being the case.