Philadelphia 76ers 116-95 Toronto Raptors: Joel Embiid inspires hosts

In front of their home fans, the Philadelphia 76ers turned up their intensity on the defensive end and the Toronto Raptors really felt the wrath of it during Game 3.

In Game 3, while he shot 59.1% from the field, the rest of the team went 22-of-61 shooting (36.1%). Brown said Embiid received intravenous fluids before the game.

And when Ibaka blocked a Tobias Harris jumper with 6:18 to play, the Raptors centre waved a hand in the air gesturing for the Scotiabank Arena crowd to cheer.

"I need it. When I have fun, my game just changes", he said.

It's not just the usual realities of a best-of-seven playoff series that are in play here, although those are significant enough.

Pascal Siakam added 20 points for the Raptors, who looked nothing like the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse at a presser after practice in Toronto, Ont. on Tuesday April 30, 2019.

Game 4 is on Sunday as the Sixers look for the 3-1 lead before the series shifts back to Toronto.

"They came in and made shots", Butler said of the reserves. There certainly hasn't been anything to suggest that Butler hasn't enjoyed his time with the Sixers' two budding stars in Embiid and Simmons.

Leonard and Siakam had 17 points apiece on 78 per cent shooting in the first and a pair of Leonard free throws late in the quarter gave Toronto a 14-point lead. "But we've gotta do a better job of helping him, myself included". The big man was battling some injury issues heading into the first round, but his solid play helped the more athletic and larger Sixers dominate Toronto physically in Philadelphia.

Embiid struggled through Games 1 and 2, but Game 3 unlocked the potential of what the team can be when he and Butler are both clicking. The best three-point shooting team in the league hit just three of their 15 shots from behind the arc.

It was no surprise the Sixers would come out a different team than the one the Raptors ran roughshod over in Game 1.

Philadelphia and Toronto are tied at 1-1 in their best of 7 series, with the victor to progress to the Eastern Conference Finals.

But, the Raptors worked their way back into the game and cut their deficit to just one point on a Pascal Siakam layup 50 seconds from the end. We'll find out on Thursday night in Game 3. Everyone knows that the long-term home of Leonard - not to Green and Gasol - is uncertain, but because Leonard has so consistently refused to humour inquiries about his future, that storyline has never been more than an undercurrent as the Raptors rolled through a comfortable season. And in the actual world in which we live, the guy who is coaching the Toronto Raptors, the guy with the sparkling playoff record, the guy whose post-season swoon lasted all of one game, has so far guided his team with aplomb.

Philadelphia took a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series. Green's three with 12 seconds left sliced Philly's lead to 51-38 at halftime.

  • Julie Sanders


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