NBA: Sixers oust Raptors as Embiid sizzles anew
LOS ANGELES – Joel Embiid scored 33 points in a 132-97 Philadelphia Sixers blowout over the Toronto Raptors to seal a 4-2 series victory and set up an NBA playoff conference semi-finals showdown with top seeds Miami.
The Sixers made sure there was no chance of a game seven decider as they thrashed the Raptors.
Embiid, who has been bothered by torn ligaments in his thumb in recent games, delivered a dominant display which also included 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
MVP candidate Embiid was given backing by Tyrese Maxey with 25 points while James Harden also came up big with 22 points, 15 assists and six rebounds.
It was a welcome return to form for the Sixers, who had looked vulnerable after losing games four and five to Toronto after earlier leading the series 3-0.
“We had a great practice yesterday and we needed that,” said Embiid, who said the Sixers had been motivated by their back-to-back losses.
“It was a blessing in disguise to lose those two games, because that wasn’t us,” he said. “We didn’t play the way we wanted to. We were extremely sloppy.
“Tonight we wanted to come in here and play with more intensity. Especially me. I was really bad last game, defensively. I wanted to play with a lot of energy and be physical.”
Maxey meanwhile said the Sixers had been ready for a “fight”.
“Whether we get hit in the mouth we get back up and keep fighting, and that’s what we did tonight,” he said.
“Joel (Embiid) told me on the plane on the way up here ‘We lose if we don’t be aggressive.’ And that’s what I tried to do.”
The Sixers edged into a 62-61 lead at halftime after two hard-fought opening quarters.
But Philadelphia erupted after the break to outscore Toronto 37-17 in the third quarter and effectively ice the contest.
The Sixers kept the hammer down in the fourth quarter, never giving Toronto any kind of opportunity to cut into Philadelphia’s double-digit lead.
Tobias Harris added 19 points for Philadelphia, while Danny Green also posted a double digit total with 12 points.
Chris Boucher led the Raptors scoring with 25 points off the bench while Pascal Siakam added 24.
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