Pascual Siakam made sure that raptors they were not swept on the floor of his house. Toronto’s All-Star forward scored a game-high 34 points in a 110-102 victory over the 76ers on Saturday. The Raptors led for the entirety of the second half and denied some return offers from Philly led by Joel Embidwho had an uncharacteristic offside, and james harden, whose shooting fights continued (5 of 17). Here are five thoughts on Game 4.
“It’s not 3-0 anymore”
Toronto coach Nick Nurse noted before his team took the field Saturday that if the Raptors won to bring the series score to 3-1, it would no longer be 3-0, offering an optimistic outlook on a deficit that no team in NBA history has overcome. After his team broke through with a 110-102 victory on Saturday afternoon to force a Game 5 on Monday, nurse said, “It’s not 3-0 anymore. Let’s have some fun in Philly and see what we can do.”
76ers coach Doc Rivers has been on the wrong end of a trio of 3-1 comebacks in his career. Philadelphia still has three chances (two at home) to finish off Toronto. After a 20-point loss in Game 1, the Raptors came close in each of the next two games before breaking through with a victory on Saturday. And Embiid’s apparent thumb injury could end up prolonging this series even longer.
Siakam stepped up
Siakam was the best player on the court during the 44 minutes he played in Game 4. His 34 points set a new playoff career high and were more than he scored in the previous two games combined. After not attempting a free throw in Game 3, Siakam came to the line at will and connected 13 of 15 times. His aggressiveness on the inside helped Toronto attempt more free throws (35) than Philadelphia (25) for the first time in the series. With Fred VanVleet Missing much of the game and Scottie Barnes not 100%, Toronto desperately needed a running game from Siakam and got it.
Bench Production of Toronto, a pleasant surprise
Nurse is known to play big minutes in his tight rotation: Siakam and VanVleet were No. 1 and No. 2 in minutes per game during the regular season. He was forced to dip into his rotation in Game 4 and was rewarded with a series-high 36 bench points.
Barnes came off the bench the same day he was announced Rookie of the Year and had six points and 11 rebounds. chris boucher and Precious Achiuwa played some annoying defense on Embiid and saw some shots fall at the other end of the floor.
But the real sixth man from Toronto was young Thaddeus. The veteran had scored four points in a combined 20 minutes in the first three games before throwing down 13 points, five rebounds, five assists, three blocks and a nasty step back that sent Embiid to the ground. If the Raptors are going to send the series back to Toronto, they need similar production from their reserves.
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Raptors outgrow injuries
Toronto’s difficult draw against Philadelphia has only been made worse by a series of injuries to its impact players.
VanVleet left early with a hip injuryHe was visibly upset when he walked out of the game and ripped his jersey as he walked to the locker room. He was limited to 15 minutes and managed just five points while on the floor.
Barnes returned to the lineup for Game 4 after missing the previous two, though he played 26 minutes and appeared to be re-injured.
Y Gary Trent Jr.whose play was hampered by non-COVID-related illness in the first two games in Philadelphia, played inspired basketball in both games in Toronto, scoring 24 for the second straight game.
Gutsy play from Barnes and Trent and surprise production off the bench allowed Toronto to earn a win despite their injuries, but the team would be much better off returning to Philadelphia with VanVleet and Co. as close to 100% as possible.
Embiid’s thumb is a concern
The longer this series lasts, the less time Embiid has to heal his injured right thumb, which will make According to reports, getting an MRI in. Had the 76ers eliminated the Raptors, Embiid would have had about a week to recover before a series against the Heat or Hawks. But Toronto forced at least one more game and that’s at least another 30 minutes or so that Philly’s big man will be pounding in the paint with a finger injury that was clearly bothering him.
A few late free throw games allowed Embiid to cross the 20-point threshold, but this was his worst game of the series. He had five turnovers, grabbed just eight rebounds and his frustration boiled over in the fourth quarter when he was technically fouled for a shove on Siakam. The 76ers are going as their back-to-back MVP finalist does and he didn’t look like himself on Saturday.
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