With three games to go in the series, the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers will face off in Game 5 at the Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday.
The Raptors clinched a 101-96 win in Game 4 to level the NBA Playoff Series at 2-2. Kawhi Leonard was at the center of it all for Toronto yet again. He scored 39 points and was 13 of 20 from the field. Leonard hit a crucial three-pointer late in the third quarter which gave the Raptors a 94-90 lead with a minute to go. They made their free throws from there on and held on for the win.
Leonard has been brilliant in this series, averaging 38 points per game in the four games. He is the primary reason why the Raptors have home court advantage as the series heads back to Toronto. The supporting cast has been inconsistent, but they showed up in Game 4. Kyle Lowry in particular impressed, with 14 points and seven assists. The Raptors needed him to be aggressive, which he was on Sunday. Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka also came in handy, and they chipped in with 16 and 12 points respectively.
Meanwhile, Joel Embiid was a big reason why the 76ers lost Game 4. The center was suffering from an illness, and it showed on the court. He managed 11 points, seven assists, and eight rebounds in a lackluster performance that was nowhere near his standards. Despite that, Sixers were leading by 17 points during his time on the court which further highlights his importance. Shockingly, the Raptors outscored the 76ers by 22 points in the 13 minutes he was on the bench. Brett Brown needs his superstar to recover, and quickly.
Jimmy Butler had a sound game, with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Ben Simmons failed to trouble the Raptors much, and he had just 10 points. He was a -16 during his time on the floor. J. J. Redick has an efficient shooting night, as he scored 19 on 67% shooting from the field. However, Embiid is the main factor. He took just seven shots, making only two of them. His level will be a huge factor in Game 5 for Philadelphia.
“I got a text from him at 6:20 AM this morning telling me he didn’t sleep all night, he hasn’t ever felt this poorly and was unsure if he was going to play,” said coach Brett Brown about Embiid in his postgame presser. As Embiid faltered, Leonard stepped up to deliver the win. In Game 3, Embiid had 33 points, and ten rebounds as the 76ers won by a significant margin. He will need to be at that level if the 76ers want to win this series.
Raptors vs 76ers Preview and Prediction
The Western Conference finals and one of the Warriors and Rockets await the winner of this series. The Raptors are full of confidence, and Leonard looks as good as he has ever looked. He should have another big game, and the Raptors should win Game 5. Much depends on Embiid for Philadelphia, and that doubt turns the tide in favor of Toronto.
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