what once seemed like a potential sweep is now an intriguing series as the toronto raptors defeated the philadelphia 76ers 103-88 in game 5 on monday night. The victory was the second in a row for Toronto, and a series that started 3-0 in favor of Philadelphia is now 3-2 with Game 6 scheduled to be played in Toronto on Thursday night.
The Raptors were without star guard Fred Vanvleet because of a hip injury he sustained in Game 4, but they received plenty of other contributions. Pascal Siakam led the way for Toronto with a near triple-double – 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. precious achiuwa scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds off the bench, and gary trent jr. and og anunoby added 16 points each. Toronto shot 50 percent from the ground and turned the ball over just nine times.
on the other hand, all five sixers starters scored in double figures, led by joel embiid (20 points, 11 rebounds), but none of them played particularly well, and the philadelphia bench was outscored 29-11 in the course. of the contest
it was a concerning overall performance from philadelphia as they certainly didn’t come out with the energy, effort and focus one would have hoped for with the opportunity to close out the series in front of their home fans sitting across from them more concerning is the fact that this is Philadelphia’s second poor showing in a row. Instead of shutting out the Raptors, they’ve allowed them to stay and gain confidence, making them a harder team to take down.
here are three key takeaways from toronto’s game 5 victory over philadelphia.
1. the size of toronto was a problem for philly
fred vanvleet missing the game could have been a blessing in disguise for the raptors. He was crucial to Toronto’s success throughout the season, but the Sixers were having great success attacking him defensively early in the series. With him gone, Nick Nurse and the Raptors went big, opting for a starting lineup of Siakam, Onunoby, Trent Jr., Birch and Barnes. Trent Jr. He’s the shortest of those players at 6’5″. Off the bench, Toronto only played three guys (not including the last minute of garbage time): Thaddeus Young, Chris Boucher and Achiuwa. Those guys are at least 6′ 8′.
in other words, toronto had an extremely large lineup throughout the game, and it made philadelphia nervous. the sixers struggled to penetrate the paint as they did earlier in the series, and also struggled to pull off a clean look. this is reflected in the fact that they shot just 38 per cent from the field and 27 per cent from long range. Toronto’s size also led to turnovers, 15 of them by the Sixers.
This isn’t meant to be a jab at vanvleet, but in this series, his absence could be an addition-subtraction scenario for the raptors. His status for Game 6 remains a question at this point, but regardless of whether he plays or not, the Sixers need to find a way to better deal with Toronto’s size.
2. a lousy second quarter for philadelphia
You could argue that this game was lost in the second quarter. Trailing by one after 12 minutes of action, the Sixers were outscored 25-14 in the second, and were never able to get back into the game after that. they shot just 5 of 22 from the floor in the fourth, and had as many turnovers as assists (three). look how ugly this shot chart looks:
There’s simply no excuse to only score 14 points in a full quarter, especially when your big hitters are playing important minutes. Embiid played more than eight minutes in the fourth. harden played 10. tobias harris and tyrese maxey played the entire quarter. Those guys should be able to muster more than what amounts to just over a point a minute, and Doc Rivers should be able to put them in a position to be more productive when the offense is stalling, as it clearly was.
Finishing this series and putting Toronto on the road will require a full 48-minute effort from the Sixers. they can’t afford any more bad rooms like that.
3. toronto dominated painting
You’d think the team with the dominant center would win the points battle in the paint, but that wasn’t the case in Game 5. Despite Embiid’s presence on the floor, Toronto outscored Philadelphia by 20 ( 56-36) in the painting. birds of prey constantly reached the edge and, once there, finished. according to wiping the glass, the raptors converted 24 of their 28 attempts from within four feet of the basket. the sixers had 29 such attempts, but converted only 18 of them. Going forward, Sixers will want to do a better job of protecting the rim, while also converting easier downs at the other end.