Looking to put their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series to bed with a win against the Philadelphia 76ers in front of a hostile crowd, the Raptors fell short once again and now need to rely on a big performance in Game 7 on Sunday night. It's tough. I guess I get one more and I'm gone for one game.
The Philadelphia 76ers returned home on Thursday night with their backs against the wall.
"We didn't play with enough force, we didn't play hard enough, we didn't stand in there, we didn't play with enough physicality", coach Nick Nurse said. Instead, the Sixers got an terrible effort from pretty much everybody not named Jimmy Butler, and they took an embarrassing loss that had everybody claiming the series was surely over.
The final score flattered the Raptors, with the 76ers pulling their starters with the lead greater than 20 points late in the final quarter. "I'm going to try to win". "The mood in the locker room, you could sense the serious side". He's been terrific in the last five games of this series and is leading the way. The very bad news for Toronto is that Philly may have tapped into their best version in the motivating Game 6 victory, and the Sixers' momentum should carry over to the Game 7, even if they are at the road.
Kyle Lowry - the Raptors' $33-million man - has been particularly suspect throughout the playoffs as he was averaging 12.6 points on 42.1 percent shooting (28 percent from the 3-point line) coming into Thursday's game.
"The energy, the moments, a lot of people don't get those opportunities to be able to play in a Game 7 when everything is the line, and all the things that me and this guy (fellow all-star Lowry, seated next to him) and the team has been through", he added. Danny Green, normally their most reliable three-point shooter was good on just 2-of-8 from deep.
"I think I could have pushed a little bit more, tried to get in the paint a little more", Lowry said.
Having been out-rebounded 42-37 in Game 5, the Sixers made amends by crashing the glass for a significant 52-34 advantage, including 16 boards on the offensive end.
After the Raptors did well to claw their way back to an eight-point deficit in the second half, the Sixers immediately responded with a 9-0 swing that effectively ended the contest.
"It shouldn't take that for you to play that type of basketball".
The Philadelphia 76ers had to leave everything out on the court in Game 6 and that's exactly what they did. He broke out with 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field, eight rebounds and six assists, without a turnover. He may have made his biggest mark on the defensive end, with two big blocks on Kawhi Leonard (29 pts, 12 reb, 5 ast) in the third quarter. Absent an outside shot, Simmons thrives best in a brisk tempo, and the barrage of Raptors' clankers was the accelerant he desperately needed after struggling in the series.
The Milwaukee Bucks, who dispatched Boston 4-1 in their semifinal series, await the victor.
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