Game 3 of the playoffs have commenced! Now the most heated moments of the Playoffs have arrived which is critical for teams that are down 0-2. The Toronto Raptors are one such team as they go against the Philadelphia 76ers in their home turf. For the 76ers, another win would put them in a favourable situation in the series but a loss could rattle their momentum which might lead to poor choices.
The Raptors went with their starting lineup of Fred Van Vleet, Gary Trent Jr, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Khem Birch. The 76ers started with James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Danny Green, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid.
With the opening tip, the Raptors were off to a running start. Being at home, the Raptors came out aggressively and were invested in making Embiid as uncomfortable as possible. They were getting the ball out of Embiid’s hands as they knew that it would be dangerous if the Cameroon superstar gets into rhythm.
At the same time, they were getting necessary baskets made by Anunoby who stepped up in the shooting department. Even Trent Jr was putting on a show with his offensive production. However, the 2 All-Stars on the Raptors struggled to score.
In the 2nd quarter, the Raptors shifted their offense to more of a team-play based. The 76ers found their groove a bit on the offense as Maxey went on the offensive. He aggressively attacked he basket and even made 3-point shots. Embiid was struggling to get open and he knew he needed to do more. The 76ers were trailing 46-56 at the end of the 1st half.
With the start of the 2nd half, Embiid came out ready for the battle. He went head on with the defenders and punished them on every possession. He was hitting mid-range, dunking the rim and even shooting from beyond the arc. He completely took over the 3rd quarter while the rest of his teammates kept the Raptors on bay.
The 4th quarter was a back and forth affair but the 76ers were not being able to take the lead in the game. They were tying the score and then falling behind again. With less than 30 seconds remaining, James Harden fouled out of the game on a play involving fouling Precious Achiuwa while he was going for a shot.
The Raptors had a chance to win the game with the free throws but Achiuwa missed both of them. This gave the 76ers an opportunity to seal the deal with the game tied. Unfortunately, Embiid took a 3-pointer which was ill-advised and at the same time risky. The ball did not go in sending the game to overtime.
In the overtime period, it Embiid and Maxey led the charge. They took a lead in the game for the 1st time. The Raptors weren’t far. With the game tied on 101, the 76ers had possession of the ball but they weren’t making any proper plays. Getting frustrated coach Doc Rivers calls a timeout draws up a play for Embiid. The timeout ended. Danny Green inbounded the ball and Embiid hit a turnaround 3 to win the game.
Embiid came up big in the game as he put up a double-double with 33 points and 13 rebounds. James Harden although fouled out, but he had a double-double with 19 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. Tobias Harris did not contribute on the offensive end much so he took on the defensive task putting up a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Tyrese Maxey put up 19 points to add to the score tally.
OG Anunoby scored the most points for the Raptors with 26 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Gary Trent Jr provided a spark of offence with 24 points and2 steals. Coming off the bench, Precious Achiuwa had a 20 point and 6 rebound game. Van Vleet and Siakam were a disaster in the game as they scored just 12 points each.
Takeaways from game 3
The 76ers won the game with a scoreline of 104-101. They have now extended their lead to a comfortable 3-0. The Raptors are now at the edge of a cliff and it will take a miracle for them to win the series. It is most likely that the 76ers will move to the next round by the next game.