raptors sweep playoffs shaq

Shaq says the Toronto Raptors will be swept in the first round of NBA Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs arrive on April 16, the fifth-seeded Toronto Raptors set to square off in an away game against the fourth-seed Philadephia 76ers in their first post-season appearance of 2022.

Toronto had the best final ten-game stretch of any Eastern Conference team, silencing critics by winning eight of their last ten regular-season appearances.

The 76ers, who have only won three more games than the Raptors, will be shorthanded for games played in Toronto, with at least one of their players reported to be ineligible to play in Canada due to federal vaccine requirements at the border.

But even with these factors seeming to level the playing field, one of the biggest (in both the figurative and literal sense) personalities in the basketball world thinks that the Raptors could be facing a quick first-round playoff exit.

The great Shaquille O'Neal is predicting a sweep for Philly.

NBA on TNT co-host Ernie Johnson recently claimed on air that "Philly is going to have a battle with Toronto in that first round," with fellow co-host and former on-court legend Charles Barkley agreeing. But Shaq wasn't having it, replying, "No way. Toronto's getting swept. Write it down."

Like Shaq's fellow on-air personalities, Toronto fans are stunned by the proclamation, many wondering what season Shaq was even watching this year.

It didn't take long for Shaq to change his tune, though, retracting his bold claim only moments later in the broadcast. "Ernie, did you put my sticker on the board yet?," Shaq asks to an affirmative reply, adding, "Good, don't. Rescind it."

Raptors fans were quick to defend, but this is not the same Philly squad the Raptors barely eked out a series win against in 2019.

A much-matured Joel Embiid (he literally cried last time he faced Toronto in the playoffs) won the NBA scoring title this year, while recent acquisitions James Harden and Paul Millsap have added even more scoring depth.

But that doesn't mean they're unstoppable. And Shaq may have realized that a few minutes too late.

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