|SI's Marty Burns' Breakdown|
|Toronto || ||Philadelphia |
| Antonio Davis came up huge (15.8 points, 12.0 rebounds) in the Raptors' first-round win over the Knicks, but he faces a much different
challenge here. At 6-foot-9, he won't be able to shoot over the taller Mutombo, so he'll have to hit outside shots.
|| CENTER |
| Dikembe Mutombo was a force in the first round, defending, rebounding and blocking shots. His ability to limit Davis' post-up game will be a crucial factor in this series, as Toronto will need to find some way to score inside. |
| Vince Carter struggled to break out against the Knicks (22.8 points on 37.6 percent shooting), but he came through when it counted. He should be more confident in this series, though Philly's defense will be similarly geared to stop him. Charles Oakley will make things tough on his counterpart, Tyrone Hill, especially given the bad blood between them. Oakley's ability to step outside and hit jumpers will be critical, as
|| FORWARDS |
| George Lynch will get the unenviable task of trying to slow Carter. Lynch is a smart and rugged defender, but he has little offensive game. Look for him to give way early to Aaron McKie, who can make Carter work harder at the other end. Hill is a vastly underrated part of Philly's team, but he's coming off a quiet series
against the Pacers. He'll need to pick up his scoring, and not let Oakley
get into his head.
| Chris Childs and Alvin Williams form the NBA's Rodney Dangerfield backcourt, with neither getting much respect. However, Williams (17.4 points) showed against the Knicks that he can step up and hit big shots. A Philly native, he also always seems to play well against his hometown team. His defense on Allen Iverson will be a huge factor, though he'll get help from teammates. Childs moved into the starting lineup against the Knicks and was successful pushing the tempo. He must avoid silly mistakes in this series, since his counterpart, Eric Snow, is very steady. || GUARDS |
| Iverson showed great patience in the face of near-constant double-teams by the Pacers in the first round. He passed the ball unselfishly, picked his spots and took advantage of all transition opportunities. Though he averaged 32.8 points per game against Toronto during the regular season, he must avoid the temptation to get in a
scoring duel with Carter. Point guard Snow does a good job setting up his teammates and spearheading the Sixers' pressure defense. However, he must step up and hit more open shots than he did in the first round. |
| With Jerome Williams, Morris Peterson, Keon Clark and Dell Curry, the Raptors have a bunch of high-energy guys who can change a game with their quickness. Williams, a 6-foot-9 rebounding and shot-blocking demon, was a big factor in Toronto's series win over New York. Clark also can block shots like crazy, while Peterson provides another athletic
perimeter player. Dell Curry is still one of the game's best 3-point
|| BENCH |
| Aaron McKie showed against the Pacers why he's a top Sixth Man candidate. He was Philly's second-leading scorer (17.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists), and his ability to come in and hit shots to take the pressure off Iverson once again will be crucial. Matt Geiger, Jumaine Jones and Kevin Ollie are competent reserves who can hold their own. |
| Lenny Wilkens did a terrific job orchestrating his team's victory over the Knicks. His patience in dealing with Carter's struggles and his decision to start Childs both proved sound. But
Wilkens is notorious for not double-teaming players, and such stubbornness
might cost him against Iverson. || COACH |
| It's not often that Larry Brown goes into a playoff series with fewer wins and less experience than his counterpart, but that's what he faces here. His adjustments to Indiana's double teams on Iverson in Game 1 helped Philly survive that series, and he'll be ready for anything Toronto throws at his team.
| The Raptors are riding high after having won a tough Game 5 at
New York. They also should be confident, since they won the season series
against Philadelphia. However, will they be satisfied with having advanced to the second round for the first time in franchise history?
|| INTANGIBLES |
| The Sixers are well-rested after having had a few days off from their first-round series triumph. After losing in the second round the past two years, they're eager to take the next step. With the First Union Center crowd behind them, they'll be tough to beat at home.
| Jerome Williams, a.k.a. The Junk Yard Dog, loves to come in and
provide a spark with his non-stop hustle. With Philly loading up to stop
Carter in the half court, his ability to block shots, rebound and kick-
start the fast break could be crucial.
|| 'X' FACTOR |
| Mutombo must clog up the middle on defense and make it tough for Carter inside, while hitting the offensive glass at the other end. Iverson's going to need help in this series, and Mutombo is the one who must step forward. |
|Burns' Prediction: Sixers in 6|