The Raptors head to Philadelphia to take on the Sixers for a closeout Game 6 — with a bearth in the Eastern Conference Finals waiting for them. Closeout games are fun for no other reason than the lack of pulled punches. Brett Brown, five games into the series, should have a better idea about what he wants to do with his roster. Does he move away from Greg Monroe at back-up centre? Is Jimmy Butler able to take on a bigger offensive role? Butler shot 22 times in their Game 2 win, but took 16 shots in their recent Game 5 loss.
The same type of questions exist for Nick Nurse and the Raptors. Will Serge Ibaka continue to play heavy minutes at power forward with Pascal Siakam returning to health? Who does Kawhi Leonard defend? How many minutes do Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell play?
The Raptors are 5-4 in closeout games since their playoff run started in 2014. Not a bad record, but only now do they have Kawhi. In 18 closeout games during his career, Leonard has averaged 15.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.8 steals per game on 46 percent shooting from the field. Stats that don’t exactly jump off the page, and yet: he’s had …
Author: Ben_Scott / Raptors HQ