Posted on May 3 , 2019, by Travis Pulver

If the Toronto Raptors thought the Philadelphia 76ers were going to be an easy series win, the loss in Game Two proved that theory wrong. However, with Joel Embiid struggling in both games in Toronto, the Raptors had to at least feel good about their defensive game plan.

If they can control the 76ers biggest weapon, they have a better chance of winning. But as it turns out, all Joel Embiid needed was to go back home to Philly.

Via @nbastats

After struggling against Toronto’s defensive efforts in the first two games of the series, Embiid had a breakout performance in Game Three. With Marc Gasol on him most of the time, he recorded his first double-double of the series with 33 points and ten rebounds.

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According to ESPN Stats & Info, Embiid scored just six points and was 2-11 from the floor against Gasol in Games One and Two. But while you might think that would make him concerned about Gasol, he isn’t, via ESPN:

“I’m not really focused on him; great player, have a lot of respect for him, but it’s a team game.”

Philadelphia jumped out to an early 9-3 lead in the first and never looked back. They led by three after the first quarter, 32-29. They pushed the lead out to ten points early in the second and led by double digits for most of the quarter.

At the half, the 76ers led by 11 points, 64-53.

Toronto put up more of a fight in the third, but still trailed by double digits for most of the quarters. However, they were able to narrow the gap down to eight points heading into the fourth.  But then a 21-3 run by the 76ers to start the final quarter quickly put the game out of reach for the Raptors.

A three-pointer by Toronto’s Norman Powell closed out the scoring and made the final score 116-95, Philadelphia.

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse did not mince words while speaking with the media after the game, via ESPN:

“I think we got outplayed in just about every area we can get outplayed. It’s been a while since we’ve seen this team play that way.”

Kawhi Leonard had a solid game for the Raptors with 33 points (13-22 from the floor). Pascal Siakamhad a decent day with 20 points, but they didn’t get much help from the rest of the team.

Kyle Lowry had another lackluster performance (2-10 from the floor; 0-4 from three-point range) with just seven points. But they only got 15 points from the bench.

The 76ers only got 23 points from their bench, but with the whole starting five scoring in double digits, they didn’t need the help as much. Along with Embiid’s 33, Jimmy Butler came close to recording a triple-double (22 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists). J.J. Reddick chipped in 15, Tobias Harris scored 13, and Ben Simmons had ten.

Toronto will get a chance to tie the series back up when they face the 76ers in Game Four Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.  So far, the Raptors are favored to win, but only by 1.5 points.         

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