TORONTO — Sometime, a workforce will come again from down 3-0 to win an NBA playoff collection.
Nevertheless it gained’t be the 2022 Toronto Raptors.
After changing into the 14th workforce to pressure a best-of-7 collection to Sport 6 after falling behind 3-0, the Raptors didn’t have sufficient to increase this collection by one other recreation. The Philadelphia 76ers — because of a dominant third quarter that noticed them outscore Toronto 37-17 and at one level rating 17 straight factors — got here away with a 132-97 victory over Toronto Thursday evening in Sport 6 of their first spherical collection right here at Scotiabank Area.
The win strikes Philadelphia into the Jap Convention semifinals for the fourth time in 5 years, the place the 76ers will hope to lastly break by and attain the Jap Convention finals for the primary time since Allen Iverson led them there in 2001. Philadelphia begins its collection in Miami towards the top-seeded Warmth Monday evening.
The 76ers had been led by a balanced assault throughout the board. Joel Embiid, enjoying by a torn ligament in his proper thumb, completed with 33 factors and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes, going 12-for-18 from the sphere. Harden had 22 factors, six rebounds and 15 assists, enjoying with the aggression the 76ers desperately wanted from him. And second-year guard Tyrese Maxey had an enormous bounce again recreation as nicely, ending with 25 factors and eight assists after scoring 23 factors mixed in Video games 4 and 5.
It was precisely the sort of efficiency the 76ers wanted — however one which was removed from sure to happen when this recreation tipped off shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday night. After Sport 3 of this collection, when Embiid’s last-second 3-pointer in extra time gave Philadelphia a 104-101 victory right here over the Raptors final week to take a 3-0 lead, it appeared as if the 76ers had put their demons to relaxation from their heartbreaking loss to Toronto within the 2019 Jap Convention semifinals.
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However issues didn’t fairly work out that method. A sluggish efficiency from the 76ers allowed Toronto to get again into the collection with a house victory in Sport 4, adopted by the Raptors dictating play from begin to end in Sport 5, main for all however the opening minute as the group inside Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Heart received tighter and tighter by the second.
“I simply assume, once more, that we received put in a giant gap right here, 3-0, and we simply knew that getting one may get us again on this factor and provides us an opportunity to maintain it going,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse stated Wednesday. “Pay attention, everyone was disillusioned in regards to the 3-0 begin, and it felt somewhat heavy for some time, however not that lengthy some time.
“I believe once we lastly received again to the movie room the following day, I preferred the physique language, I preferred what I used to be listening to communication-wise and I felt that we had been able to go.”
That mentality was sufficient for Toronto to get itself again into the collection and to convey it again right here for Thursday evening’s Sport 6. Nevertheless it wasn’t sufficient to hold Toronto to the precipice of historical past.
As an alternative, it was Philadelphia — which spent the previous three days listening to infinite chatter about whether or not the workforce, and particularly Joel Embiid, James Harden and 76ers coach Doc Rivers, would be capable to shut this collection out and reverse previous playoff heartbreaks — that ensured it wouldn’t discover itself on the mistaken finish of yet one more disappointing postseason outcome.
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The 76ers did so because of an offensive onslaught that left the sellout crowd right here shocked as to how the sport slipped away so rapidly. After Philadelphia held a 62-61 halftime lead, the 76ers got here out to begin the third quarter and nearly immediately put to relaxation any ideas of this collection going again house for a do-or-die seventh recreation Saturday evening. Scoring on their first eight journeys down the courtroom, Philadelphia opened up a 13-point lead earlier than the Raptors followers may even get again into their seats after the halftime break.
Ultimately, the run ballooned to a 30-9 stretch over the primary 8:08 of the third, capped off by a Harden stepback 3-pointer that made it 92-70 in favor of the 76ers, forcing Toronto to name its second timeout of the quarter and Harden to roar in celebration.
For a number of 76ers, Sport 6 served as a redemption arc — none extra so than Harden, who got here beneath fireplace for his play after taking simply 11 pictures in Sport 5, with Embiid himself saying Harden wanted to be extra aggressive, and that it was on Rivers to get him to be.
Harden appeared to take that message to coronary heart to start Sport 6, throwing down a dunk — his second in two video games, after not getting a single one in his first two months as a 76er — as a part of maybe his finest quarter this collection, scoring 10 factors and doling out 5 assists to assist stake the 76ers to a 34-29 lead after one.
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The new tempo offensively for each groups to begin the sport continued all through the primary half, with each groups executing what they needed offensively and getting sudden contributions from throughout the roster. For Toronto, it was backup massive man Chris Boucher pouring in 19 factors — a playoff career-high — and eight rebounds earlier than the break; for Philadelphia, it was Danny Inexperienced hitting 4 3-pointers and scoring 12 factors within the first half.
Philadelphia hit practically 58 p.c of its pictures within the first half; Toronto was just below 50 p.c and as soon as once more struggled from the 3-point line (3-for-15), however had 10 offensive rebounds, and a 12-3 edge in second-chance factors.
Most significantly, nonetheless, the 76ers held a 62-61 lead — organising each groups for what appeared like it might be an exhilarating second half with the whole lot to play for.
As an alternative, the 76ers got here out and made positive any discuss of historical past being made on this collection could be put to relaxation.