76ers storm past Raptors, force Game 7

NBA: 76ers storm past Raptors, force Game 7

The second-round series victor will face the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals.

It's more likely that Philadelphia can be this good, and this series is exactly this tight. Toronto was 40 per cent (16-for-40) from long range in Game 5 as the Raptors spread out the scoring to support Leonard, the only player on the team who has been consistently excellent in the series. This second-round series has been a tug-of-war: The teams have now exchanged home blowouts, and road wins that looked like they were played with rocks, and now home blowouts again. Now the Raptors must hope a return home will be enough in Game 7 with the 76ers regaining their swagger.

So, just like that, it's a seven-game series and now the Sixers have all of the momenta.

While Butler did not go off for 50 points or completely shut down Kawhi Leonard, he closed out the first half with a flurry of buckets, which gave Philadelphia a 15-point lead going into the break and completely set the tone for the final 24 minutes. "I'm just hooping. I play to win".

"It is unfortunate but we have been here before", said Nuggets coach Mike Malone.

Then the third quarter came.

Almost all the bugaboos were back.

IN cut a 16-point deficit to three with less than three minutes left, but the Raptors wouldn't let it slip away. Just 100 seconds later he had made a couple defensive mistakes and the Sixers lead was back to 17.

Butler about did it all, and showed in the first half why the free agent will command a max contract - $188 million over five years - in the offseason.

The big Spaniard has transformed this team with his passing and defence.

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Franchise cornerstone Embiid, who was listed as a probable starter due to a sore knee, also got back on track after making eight turnovers in game five.

He wasn't alone, though.

Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Toronto came in, and they hit us in the mouth. Even on Thursday, the Sixers managed a meager 87.3 points per 100 possessions in the half court, according to Cleaning the Glass.

The next leading scorer for the Sixers was Ben Simmons, who finally stepped up this series. "We had a lot of open looks early and we missed them". Leonard missed all four of his long-range attempts in the game. Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry, and Danny Green combined for just 28 points and shot a collective 10-27 from the field.

Simmons was savaged by Philadelphia fans, United States media and former National Basketball Association stars including Charles Barkley after he was listless in the Raptors' 36-point thrashing of the 76ers in game five.

Embiid fought through illness to dominate the paint with 17 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks and Butler was inspirational with 25 points, six rebounds and eight assists.

It was a blown chance, and the only good thing about it is Toronto gets another one. "Not going to just let teams continue to embarrass you". It's tough. I guess I get one more and I'm gone for one game.

"We have big goals ahead of us", said Lowry.

From there, the deficit was too much for the Raptors to overcome.

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