Raptors bulldoze Sixers by 36 for 3-2 series lead
LOS ANGELES, USA – The Toronto Raptors inched closer to an NBA Eastern Conference finals berth, and they did it by posting the franchise’s biggest win in postseason history.
Banking on a balanced charge, the Raptors demolished the Philadelphia 76ers by 36 points, 125-89, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series on Tuesday, May 7 (Wednesday, May 8, Manila time).
Pascal Siakam buried 25 points and Kawhi Leonard tallied a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds in a dominant Game 5 where all Toronto starters finished in double figures.
"I was certainly not expecting that kind of game tonight," said Raptors coach Nick Nurse. "Obviously we're certainly happy with the result. We did a lot of good things."
“We made shots tonight once again and held them below 100 points,” said Leonard. “It was a great collective effort tonight.”
Leonard, who punctuated the 2nd quarter with a massive dunk, delivered another big jam to close out the 3rd and send the Raptors into the final frame up 92-70.
Toronto would stretch the lead to 40 points, 123-83, on Norman Powell's dunk with 2:24 to play.
Jimmy Butler led the Sixers with 22 points 7 assists and 5 rebounds as Joel Embiid, still battling illness, finished with subpar numbers of 13 points and 6 boards.
Embiid, who did not join the Sixers’ shootaround before the game, has been dealing with an upper respiratory infection that also affected his Game 4 performance.
The night before Game 4, Embiid was throwing up and needed an IV. He wound up with only 11 points on a 2-for-7 shooting in the loss.
The absence of Embiid’s aggressive game, though, doesn’t take away the impressive effort of the Raptors.
Kyle Lowry fired 19 points on top of 6 rebounds and 5 assists, while Danny Green knocked in 15 of his 17 poins from three-point range.
Marc Gasol rounded out Toronto’s double-digit performers with 11 points as the Raptors virtually cruised through the second half.
The Raptors look to wrap it up on Thursday in Philadelphia. – With a report from Agence France-Presse