Philadelphia 76ers even out the series with a dominant Game 2 win

Arnold Nichols
May 4, 2019

After getting dominated by Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam and the Raptors in Game 1, the Sixers now head home for Thursday's Game 3 after a split in Toronto.

"From afar, I have always just been a fan of his toughness, and over time, you've seen the attention that he's given to his body".

You measure him in wins and losses and in this second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, you measure him in what he does against the great, erratic, explosive and perhaps flawed all-star Embiid.

"They came out more aggressive than us", Lowry said. "We have to maintain our spirit".

"They have the NBA's best three-point shooting team".

But moreso than raising their spirits, Brown raised the 76ers' game plan in Game 2, particularly on the defensive end.

While Leonard still led all scorers with 35 points, he scored just 15 in the first half as the visitors built a 13-point lead at the break. But while the Night King got his, the rest of North was effectively neutralized in the face of Brown's defensive adjustments.

Brown was inspired to make the swap by Embiid's comparative success defending Giannis Antetokounmpo in recent matchups with the Milwaukee Bucks.

At one point, Toronto was down by 19 points before they whittled that deficit down to one point in the third quarter and had a chance to tie the game with about 10 seconds left in regulation, but Danny Green's open look three-point attempt clanked off the rim.

"We knew that Pascal had a big game in Game 1 and me guarding it was my job to slow him down", said Embiid after the game. He had two in 65 regular-season games. "We felt like there was some similarities there". Now the Raptors of this year, which look nothing like the Raptors of previous years, wound up doing what the Raptors do and lost a playoff game they should have won.

However, wide-open misses or not, full credit should still go to Philadelphia's defence, as it managed to hold Toronto to only 36.3 per cent shooting from field and an abysmal 29.8 per cent if you don't include Leonard's brilliance. Anyway, Toronto could have overcome its rough start if its bench had scored more than five points or another jumper or two went in down the stretch.

Just 48 hours after looking like a possible National Basketball Association final contender, the Raptors looked lacklustre for much of Game 2.

"We can execute better", Nurse said. It was a risky proposition by Brown, especially because Embiid was dealing with a stomach flu before the game and was actually hooked up to an IV a few hours between his arrival at Scotiabank Arena and opening tipoff.

The Sixers will definitely need their star big man for Game 2, as the team will need to pull off all the stops to try and stop Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard, who dropped a monster 45-point, 11-rebound double-double in Game 1.

"This was James Butler". That was the adult in the gym ...

"He was just a tremendous rock, " Sixers coach Brett Brown said.

Last year, with more opportunity with the bench unit, more minutes on the floor, Siakam continued his work and took 332 more shots over the course of the season than he did in his rookie campaign.

"For me it was trying to stick to our guns a little bit", Nurse said. A game Nurse watched over and over again Tuesday morning, second guessing his own decisions, second guessing the decisions he considered but didn't make. And we didn't play well tonight.

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