For the second time this postseason, the Toronto Raptors set a brand new franchise report for largest margin of victory in a playoff recreation, eviscerating the Philadelphia 76ers 125-89 in Sport 5 of their Japanese Convention semifinal collection.
Listed below are some takeaways from Tuesday’s recreation:
Sixers compelled out of rhythm
After switching Kawhi Leonard onto Jimmy Butler within the second half of Sport 4, Nick Nurse and the Raptors opened Sport 5 with Leonard again on Ben Simmons, and it paid rapid dividends. With Leonard hounding him, Simmons turned the ball over twice within the recreation’s first 36 seconds, which proved to be a preview of Philly’s night time to return.
Joel Embiid, who continues to be battling an higher respiratory an infection, turned the ball over eight instances on solely 19 particular person possessions – a mix of each Embiid’s carelessness with the ball, Marc Gasol‘s continued put up protection, and Toronto’s excellently timed assist protection. Raptors guards Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Danny Inexperienced all compelled Embiid turnovers on completely timed digs.
Simmons added 5 turnovers in simply 25 minutes of motion, whereas the Sixers as a workforce mixed for 19.
With the Raptors boasting the league’s best transition offense, and fast-break king Pascal Siakam wanting extra like himself after being hampered by a calf damage in Sport 4, Toronto outscored Philadelphia 33-Eight on the break.
Completely different mindsets
This collection might flip but once more with Sport 6 being performed in Philadelphia, however the Raptors and 76ers appeared like two groups with utterly totally different mindsets in Sport 5.
The Raptors appeared locked in from begin to end – the kind of efficiency that speaks to a veteran workforce understanding the magnitude and urgency of the second. Even up 30-plus factors within the fourth quarter, Toronto ran its offense with vitality and goal, whereas rotating and shutting out with ferocity on the defensive finish.
Apart from Jimmy Butler, who stored Philly hanging round longer than it deserved, the youthful 76ers appeared shellshocked by the style wherein the Raptors “punched them within the mouth,” as head coach Brett Brown described it postgame. The Sixers by no means appeared like they discovered their ft on both finish and made a shocking quantity of psychological errors.
One such miscue that stands out got here late within the first half when James Ennis foolishly sought out contact with Leonard on a Raptors quick break, regardless of the Sixers being within the penalty and having gamers in place to defend the transition alternative. Leonard obtained two free throws to stretch Toronto’s result in 21.
Lowry’s additional gear
As otherworldly as Leonard’s efficiency has been this postseason, and as invaluable as Siakam’s star flip has confirmed, Lowry stays the engine that makes this Raptors workforce go.
Toronto is at its greatest when Lowry assaults with aggression from the leap, and it is no coincidence that the workforce’s greatest wins throughout this playoff run have come when the five-time All-Star is extra engaged within the offense to start out the sport.
Lowry scored eight of his 19 factors within the first half of the primary quarter on Tuesday and customarily appeared extra assertive and forceful initiating the offense. He additionally made a degree to push the tempo and get the Raptors flowing in transition, no matter whether or not the workforce was coming off of a defensive cease or Sixers bucket.
“Getting downhill, getting in transition off makes and misses – simply hold pushing it, and pushing, and pushing,” Lowry mentioned of his Sport 5 mindset. “I obtained to the free-throw line eight instances tonight. As a workforce, we obtained to the free-throw line 33 instances. We had been simply aggressive.”
In typical Lowry vogue, the purpose guard additionally chipped in six rebounds, 5 assists, a steal, and a block, making various key performs on the defensive finish.
Lowry, who displayed an explosive burst in Video games Four and 5 hardly seen this season, nonetheless has the kind of additional gear many pundits thought had deserted him. Perhaps he cannot hit that gear for seven video games at a time anymore, however he appears to know when the Raptors want him to succeed in it.
After discovering success using Gasol and Serge Ibaka collectively in Sport 4, Nurse as soon as once more turned to the Spanish nationwide workforce duo for appreciable stretches of Sport 5, and it labored wonders.
One of many Sixers’ few benefits on this collection was their means to punish the Raptors on the glass and generate multiple-shot possessions, however with two facilities on the courtroom for Toronto, that benefit has disappeared. Working example, within the 14 minutes Gasol and Ibaka shared the courtroom Tuesday, the Raptors posted a defensive rebound price of 100 p.c.
|Ibaka-Gasol combo||Minutes||Web Ranking (per 100 poss.)||OReb%||DReb%|
|Video games 4-5||37||+16.6||30.3||81.1|
“I’ve performed with Marc on the nationwide workforce in Spain. We all know play basketball,” Ibaka mentioned of the consolation stage between the 2. “I have been within the league 10 years. He is been within the league greater than 10 years. Proper now, we do not have time to consider how we’ll play collectively. The one factor in our thoughts is, go on the market, attempt to determine it out, and play onerous.”
In seven minutes with all three of their massive males on the courtroom in Sport 5, throughout which period Siakam stuffed the small ahead function, the Raptors outscored the 76ers by 12 factors.
It is robust to seek out big lineups that work properly collectively within the fashionable recreation, however the trio of Siakam, Ibaka, and Gasol possess sufficient playmaking and capturing to permit the Raptors to go additional massive with out sacrificing a lot spacing or offensive circulate. The added frontcourt dimension additionally permits the Raptors to get away with taking part in Lowry and VanVleet collectively within the backcourt, which might normally be a catastrophe towards Philly’s size.
The Kawhi Present
In a recreation the Raptors received by 36 factors, Leonard’s loud highlights will not be spoken about with the identical reverence as his Sport Four dagger, however there was nonetheless a way of demoralization that got here with them for the Sixers.
Leonard’s dunk to finish the primary half, which noticed him cut up Ennis and Tobias Harris in midair, whereas additionally catching and discarding Ennis’ outstretched arm within the course of, left the Toronto crowd standing and chanting “MVP” properly after each groups had retired to their respective locker rooms for halftime.
His posterization of Embiid within the third quarter, in the meantime, left the Sixers massive man as visibly defeated as you will ever see. Even the normally stoic Leonard needed to set free a visceral roar.
Quote of the sport
“I did not discover. I simply noticed them shake their our bodies. I did not take note of what the hell they had been doing. However good for them. I do not care if what I do offends anyone. It is all about having enjoyable. I do not care. I am gonna try this, as a result of I do know I’ll dominate.” – Joel Embiid, when requested if he observed Raptors followers – together with Drake – mocking his Sport Three airplane celebration as he was jeered off the courtroom in Sport 5.
As for dominating, Embiid is averaging 17 factors, 7.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.Eight blocks within the collection whereas capturing 38 p.c from the sphere and averaging 3.Eight turnovers.
What to observe for
How does Embiid break by way of this funk?
He dominated within the 76ers’ Sport Three win however has since been stonewalled because of an sickness and Nurse’s determination to match extra of Embiid’s minutes with Gasol’s.
Between Video games 1-3, Gasol was on the courtroom for 57 of Embiid’s 90 minutes or 63 p.c of the time. In Video games Four and 5, Gasol matched 61 of Embiid’s 67 minutes or 91 p.c. If Embiid cannot remedy the sturdy, savvy veteran, or this an infection, the Sixers will not remedy the Raptors.