Please select your default edition
Your default site has been set for 7 days

Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry must play to All-Star level for Raptors in Game 6 against Celtics, says Mo Mooncey

Watch Toronto Raptors @ Boston Celtics Game 6, live on Sky Sports Arena on Wednesday at 11:30pm

Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics passes the ball against the Toronto Raptors during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals 3:01
Mo Mooncey says Nick Nurse's defensive tactics are crucial for Toronto in Game 6

Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry must play to their All-Star level for the Toronto Raptors to force a Game 7 when they face the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

NBA playoff picture

NBA playoff picture

Stay up to date with the latest postseason picture

The Raptors know a loss in Game 6 spells the end of their season, curtailing their championship reign that began in June 2019 when they overcame the Golden State Warriors in the Finals.

Siakam has topped 20 points against Boston just once in the first five games of the Eastern Conference semi-series, while Lowry contributed 17, 16 and 10 points respectively in Games 1, 2 and 5. Toronto lost all three of those games.

Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the NBA Playoffs 1:29
Highlights of Game Five of the Eastern Conference semi-final series between the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors

Speaking on the latest edition of Heatcheck, Mooncey said both players "have to be better" if Toronto are to keep their season alive.

"It's win or go home for Toronto," he said. "They have two All-Stars on their roster who simply have to be better. Pascal Siakam, he cannot let Jaylen Brown shut him down as he has done throughout the series. Kyle Lowry, he has to be better as well.

"Toronto have two All-Stars on their roster. Let's see if they show up."

Mooncey believes the Raptors' choice of defensive schemes, orchestrated by Coach of the Year Nick Nurse, will also be a factor in deciding the outcome of Game 6.

Also See:

The Boston Celtics team 2:55
Shaquille O'Neal believes the Boston Celtics won't let the Toronto Raptors get a seventh game chance in their playoff match-up

"Boston have really struggled against Toronto's zone," he said. "In the two games the Raptors won, that zone completely threw them off. Nurse has also played a three-man zone with individual defenders on Walker and Tatum.

"I will be looking what defensive schemes Nurse will be running. Winning-wise, everything for the Raptors starts on the defensive side of the ball. That's where they have to stop the Celtics."

Follow Sky Sports NBA on Twitter

Follow Sky Sports NBA on Twitter

See the NBA's best plays and stay up to date with the latest news

The Raptors scored the most fast-break points in the NBA during the regular season but that avenue to the basket has been taken away by Boston's defense, according to Soko.

"I feel Toronto have played into one of the Celtics' strengths, their perimeter play. The Celtics have very capable perimeter defenders. That's where their strongest defenders are. The versatility they have on the perimeter is incredible. They have size at the wing positions and are able to take transition offense away from opponents," he said.

preview image 4:17
Shaquille O'Neal, Draymond Green, Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley break down Toronto Raptors' Game 3 win against Boston Celtics

Armstrong echoed Mooncey's praise of Nurse's coaching and said he would not bet against Toronto in a Game 7 situation - if the series extends to a deciding game.

"If the Celtics are going to win this series, they better win it in six," he said. "Because if it goes to a Game 7, Nurse has tricks in his bag. He will be poised to win a Game 7 from the sideline. He will pull out something."

Join our NBA group on Facebook

Join our NBA group on Facebook

Sign up and join the NBA conversation in our Facebook group

Mooncey agreed and added: "Nurse will run a play that he saw in a girls' high school game because he saw five minutes of a game when he was dropping his kids off at school! He'll implement that into the NBA!

"We saw him run that box-and-one defense in the Finals last year. When was the last time you saw a box-and-one in the NBA? In the NBA Finals, no less? He might come out [in Game 6] with a full-court press for 48 minutes! Nobody knows what Nurse is thinking. That's what makes the Raptors so dangerous.

Get NBA news on your phone

Get NBA news on your phone

Want the latest NBA news, features and highlights on your phone? Find out more

"I promise you this, if Nurse wasn't the coach of the Toronto Raptors, there is no way this collection of players would be as good as they are. Nurse has done an outstanding job as head coach of this team. I could still see Toronto winning this series in seven games."

Want to watch even more of the NBA but don't have Sky Sports? Get the Sky Sports Action and Arena pack, click here.

Around Sky