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NBA - US Sports: Raptors entering crucial period

Toronto Raptors head to Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday in a key clash in terms of the battle for the top six seeds in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto are 37/20 to win in the Money Line and the Sixers can be backed at 10/11 with a -5.5 handicap in the Point Spread.

Philadelphia sit in second spot in the East and they are just three games behind leaders Miami Heat, but they are also just four-and-a-half clear of Toronto in seventh.

Raptors need to go well

The Raptors trail Cleveland Cavaliers immediately above them by a game-and-a-half and Chicago Bulls, who sit fifth, are only two games ahead.

Miami, Philly and the Bucks look set to finish in automatic play-off spots if they can maintain their form but the other three spots are up for grabs with Boston Celtics, Chicago, the Cavs, Toronto and Brooklyn Nets still in contention for a top six place.

Toronto look the most likely team outside of the top six to force their way in and their game against Philadelphia is the first in a crucial three-game period that could decide whether or not they avoid the play-in tournament.

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On Monday, the Raptors make the trip to Chicago to face the Bulls and they then entertain Cleveland on Thursday.

Boston are three-and-a-half games ahead of Toronto and look well placed to claim a top six spot, although they face a tough trip to Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

Three into two in the West

In the Western Conference, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers look to be in a three-way fight for two play-in places.

The Pelicans make the trip to Atlanta Hawks on Sunday and San Antonio face a trip to Golden State Warriors, with both looking to close the gap on the Lakers after their defeat to Washington Wizards on Saturday.

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