While the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the No. 2 Toronto Raptors and No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers is between teams just one seed apart in the standings, there was an overwhelming belief that the Raptors were heavy favourites ahead of the series.
So much, in fact, that Sixers head coach Brett Brown addressed the 'reality' of being the underdog ahead of Game 2, telling reporters that "nobody really gives us a chance. I think two out of 20 thought the Sixers could win" (per TSN's Josh Lewenberg).
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Brown, of course, is referring to ESPN's Experts' predictions, that saw 17 out of 19 writers predict Toronto would advance past Philadelphia for its second Eastern Conference Finals berth in franchise history.
Philly's head coach continued, adding that "Our local writers - zero of six thought we could win. We understand that." Brown added "it's not anything that influences us. In fact, it motivates us."
The Sixers will look to use this extra motivation as they try to even up the series in Game 2 after suffering a 13-point loss in the series opener.
It gets no easier for the visitors, though, as they will again be without key reserve Mike Scott, who is dealing with plantar fasciitis and reports have indicated that All-Star big man Joel Embiid is dealing with the stomach flu but is listed as probable for the game.
Game 2 is crucial for Philadelphia as teams trailing 0-2 in best-of-seven series have an all-time series record of 20-182 in NBA history and the Sixers are 0-9 all-time when falling into a 0-2 hole.