IF JOJO’S HEALTH HOLDS UP, SIXERS WILL BEAT THE RAPTORS!

By Sally Fahey

The Sixers and Raptors tip it off tonight in Canada in the Eastern Conference semis.

This is how far the Sixers got last year, when they were humbled in five games by the Celtics.

As with most things Sixers, their chances to win and advance depend on Joel Embiid and his health.

Which is relatively good.

Embiid missed five of his team’s last seven regular-season games, dealt with knee soreness throughout the series against Brooklyn and was even held out of the Game 3 win.

The 25-year-old, however, excelled on both ends in the final two matchups of the first round to help Philly advance.

“We are the recipient of Jo trying to inch along slowly and buy time,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said earlier this month. “You win a game, two more days, you win a game, three more days, you might drop one, four more days.

“How do you deliver him responsibly to a later date in ultimately what you hope will be a deep playoff run?

“It’s not as clear cut as you thought it would be on ‘how do you maintain a fitness base and still get his knee rest?’ What do we do to help him most now?

“I believe a solid plan is in place that can deliver him responsibly, incrementally to later dates.”

The 76ers will certainly need their center in the lineup and consistently on the court against the Raptors.

Both teams in this series feature multiple All-Stars.

The Raptors are led by the two-headed attack of Leonard and Kyle Lowry. Forward Pascal Siakam had a breakout season for Toronto, while the team improved their frontline by acquiring Marc Gasol in a February deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The 76ers offense is powered by Embiid and fellow young star Ben Simmons. Philly also made a pair of in-season additions, trading for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in preparation for the playoffs.

The stars in this series will determine which team advances to the conference finals.

Philly has a thin bench.

The 76ers did not have a deep rotation to begin the season, and their second unit was depleted even further after they were forced to send away multiple key role-players in the deals that brought in Butler as well as Harris.

Sixers forward Mike Scott also could be limited as he left Game 5 against the Nets with a bruised foot and did not return.

The Raptors, on the other hand, can rely on their backups – including Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka – for long stretches, which could present a problem for Philly..

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