PHILADELPHIA – After the RaptorsThe occupants of the 76ers 103-88Monday night's Game 5 in the Eastern Conference series saw Toronto move within two wins from becoming the first team in NBA history to erase a 3-0 deficit. Philadelphia is superstar Joel EmbiidHe remains confident that his team can win this series.
Embiid, who finished with 20 points in the final 39 minutes, added that “we're fine”. It's the exact same recipe. You can't make the ball go over. We need to be more connected and defensively better. On the defensive side, there were a few times when we weren't on point or we didn't have one another's backs.
“But we're fine. There is a reason why we won three consecutive games. Offensively, it's obvious that we haven't always been ourselves. That's what led to us giving up these two games. We just have to do better.”
Embiid said that the torn ligament in the right thumb was not different after Game 5. He also had to send a reassuring message out to the team and fans to show how much has changed since he drained Game 3's game-winning 3-pointer to push Philadelphia to the brink for reaching the second round.
However, the 76ers now find themselves in an all-out dogfight against a Raptors team, despite missing All Star point guard Fred VanVleetWho? sat out with a left hip flexor strain — controlled Monday's game virtually from start to finish to become the 14th team to win two games after falling behind 3-0 in a best-of-seven series, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. If Toronto wins at home Thursday, it would make the Raptors the fourth team that forces a Game 7 in this situation. It's the first time since the Portland Trail BlazersFor the Dallas Mavericks2003
Philadelphia was leading for 21 seconds, starting at when James HardenRaptors forward – Raptors bury a midrange jumper to start the scoring at 18 seconds. OG Anunoby made a long 2-point jumper. The Raptors scored the next five and never looked back. After a tight quarter, they opened up the game by scoring the first 12 of the quarter's points. This gave them a lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
Doc Rivers, the 76ers' coach, stated that “they got everything they wanted” and that 23 seconds was enough to complete every possession. They made the game a slow-paced slugfest and ran every chance they had. They got both. Like they beat us in transition. When transition was not available, they used the clock to get the iso they desired and beat us.
“We will have to do more to help our men defend better.”
Toronto became Rookie-of-the Year with VanVleet out of action Scottie BarnesAt point guard, deployed long, athletic defenders at all positions. No player below 6'6 touched the floor until garbage time. It was a defensive show that was so oppressive that Philadelphia shot only 38% from the field and went 10-for-37 from 3-point range. 16 of those turnovers were converted into Raptors points.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse stated that the Raptors were “really working hard” and “just active”. My goal is not to make them give up, but to ensure that they shoot well and do other things as well. I believe we did the majority of the time, especially in the beginning, and that is what matters. … We did, however, play hard defensively for the entire game.”
Harden, in particular was not involved. Harden scored the first four points in Philadelphia's game on a jumper and fast-break dunk. Harden finished the game just 2-for-9 over the remaining 46 minutes. He was 4-for-11 from field and 2-for-6 at 3-point range. Harden accumulated 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 turnovers in just 39 minutes.
Harden disregarded the question when Harden was asked if Toronto is doing anything to make him miss shots.
He said, “I took 11 shots.”
Embiid said that Harden should be more aggressive offensively, something he has repeated since Harden's acquisition. Ben SimmonsRivers will be making it happen at the NBA trade deadline.
“I've been saying this all season, he has to be aggressive and he should be himself,” Embiid explained. “That's not really what I do. Coach needs to speak to him and tell them to take more shots, especially if I'm going to be guarded the same way as they have been. It's not my job.
“But all of us need to improve offensively. We missed many wide-open opportunities. I felt that we were being invited at times. When I was getting doubled, it was not like we were aggressively attacking. We moved the ball around the perimeter and gave them time to recover. That's why we were unable to extract any results.
“So, if they're going to continue doing that, we have to take advantage of it.”
The Wells Fargo Center was filled with tension from the start, as the memories of last season's 3-1 fall at the hands of the Wells Fargo Center were fresh in everyone's minds. Atlanta HawksThe Eastern Conference semifinals were capped by Simmons scoring a dunk in the fourth quarter. This was clearly a significant turning point in the game.
After Anunoby's dunk put Toronto up 14, with 2:08 to go, the crowd began to boo and fans started streaming towards the exits.
Raptors forward said, “Sometimes the Philly fans are tough.” Thaddeus YoungTo begin his career, he spent seven seasons with 76ers. “I believe that's why I loved being here for seven years, they're tough people.
They will let you know when it's going well and they'll let your know when things aren't working out as planned. And they love to see their guys work hard. They are a blue collar city, and that is what they believe in: blue-collar work.
Monday night's game was a disappointment for the crowd. Now, the question is whether this team will return to Toronto for Game 7 on Saturday, one that has all of history at stake, or if they will close the series in Toronto on Thursday.
“Maybe there's.” [momentum]But it doesn't really make a difference,” Nurse stated. “Ball goes up on Thursday. Everyone's gotta play like hell.”