As far as wild decorations go, Wednesday’s game might take the cake.
Joel Embiid awarded all three with 0.8 seconds of overtime – with a James Harden foul – the Sixers’ 104-101 win over the Raptors at Scotia Bank Arena. The Sixers are now 3-0 up with a chance to end the Toronto season on Saturday afternoon.
Shot hitting the bell in Toronto at postseason? How coincidence. Exorcism.
Let’s sum up a totally insane game.
- It should come as no surprise that the birds of prey came out with their communal, smoldering hair. Joel Embiid turned it on at his first touch, and Therese Maxi acquired possessions later. Basketball care is what helped Sixers Cruz to lead 2-0 series.
- This is where James Harden is so valuable compared to having a funky guard in the past. He really settled things. Toronto scored the first six points of the match before Harden scored three and then equalized with two errors.
- The Raptors weren’t choking on the Embiid and almost never seemed to be used to it. Two early spins.
- Oh man, Raptors fans are in bad shape. The chant “F— Embiid” erupted loudly late in the first quarter…because peeing on Embiid was too good for them in Game 2.
- Excellent ball movement now that the Sixers have settled into it. Those corners are open all night. Six shooters just need to keep shooting.
- Six even six turns already. This is the biggest reason why they find themselves down 23-15.
- A brutal first quarter from The Sixers. Nine Metamorphoses Four of Embiid. The Raptors don’t seem to be doing anything crazy – if they felt anything like the extra defenders they got to Embiid late instead of early. Between spins and three attacking rebounds, Toronto had eight more shots. The looks are in as the Sixers hit 5 out of 9 out of three. They just need to take care of the basketball. They coached 29-19 – it could have been 31, but Embiid closed the quarter with a sure block for OG Anunoby’s attempt to throw the ball into the bell.
- Good for Nurse Nick. Lots of fouls are called on the Sixers.
- Now you can not miss the birds of prey. Pascal Siakam started the lead as Toronto started the third round 9-2 to widen the gap to 38-21. The Sixers really need to get up here.
- Sixers go zone. First possession, Paul Reed cuts through Sicam and leads to Maxi’s pass for a quick break. We’ll see if it’s still a viable option.
- The Sixers get some help from the officials as Embiid chases after a loose ball that is then gently pushed by Fred VanVleet. Admittedly, it was a minor bug, but it was called out. VanVleet was then technically evaluated for discussion. Maxi did the free throw and then Harden scored three steps back. It ends up being a massive four-point possession, reducing the Raptors’ lead from 17 to eight, 45-37. Hardness with a high team 10. Oh man, can they use the big beard game.
- Great blast from Maxey here late in the second, but Danny Green gets technique at a really inopportune time. The call was rough – Green whistled when Anunoby seemed to make him hang on a box – but the veteran winger needs to maintain his composure.
- They cut the deficit down to six, but the Sixers got a little sloppy. After committing 17 spins in their first two combined games, the Sixers committed 14 in the first inning. Toronto had 11 extra field shootings. Harden (12 points, five assists) and Maxi (10 points) led the Sixers, but Embiid struggled hard (five points, four turnovers). With all that said, the Sixers aren’t in a terrible place, dropping from 56 to 46 in half. There is still plenty if they take care of the ball and get more Embiid.
- A turnover value from Tobias Harris on the first possession. Below required level. But Harden and Embiid with Buckets soon after. Once again, these two will be pretty much going for it.
- Embiid buries a three at the top of the switch and looks more engaged at the start of the second half. up to 12 points. Harden has been hitting the edge pretty consistently and is now hitting 16 and assists. Six players cut their first-half lead in half, 62-57, about halfway through the third inning. Their top players who seemed like their best players were helpful.
- Excuse my language, but holy shit, Joel Embiid. The Harden-Embiid Pick-and-Roll leads to a brutal immersion to cut the deficit down to three.
A couple later played, scoring again on a lap for one. The Sixers are just down one, 64-63. Embiid seems to have his right thumb taped and slightly prefers it, but he looks like a different player in the second half.
- The Raptors are now going into the zone and the Sixers seem a bit disjointed. Good lead by Doc Rivers.
- A brutal play by Green as he misses VanVleet in Three Too Long. Green wasn’t happy with the call (we didn’t get a replay), but that’s four points Green awarded Toronto in a close match.
- What an impressive quarter of Embiid. He didn’t let the raw first half bleed into the second half, scoring 18 points and making the Sixers within one point, 75-74, heading into the final frame. This is the difference in Embiid now compared to years past. It is very special.
- The Raptors pick Harden and Reed a little defensively here. Anunoby and Precious Achuiwa play a two-player match and get a good look at the edge. Rivers wisely brings Harris back there.
- Wow, that’s probably huge – Harden made his fifth mistake with plenty of time left (9:13).
- Harris and Maxi are giving the Sixers strong minutes here from both ends. We are stuck at 82-80 here for a few minutes with both teams looking a little tight. Another well-timed head coach with 6:59 to go, but when will he be looking to bring Harden back?
- Joel Hans Embiid. This guy is silly. Three step back equals 87-87. He reached the highest level in the game 28 points after scoring only five points in the first half. And now Harden is back.
- A strange night for Khidr. He’s missing the rabbit that would have given the Sixers their first lead. Toronto then gets three on the other end. Green’s next possession buried a third corner kick to equalize it again at 90-90. Timeout Raptors with 3:06 left. Wait guys – we’re coming down.
- Anunoby hits a three and then Green makes a brutal spin under the basket. Achiuwa gets an offensive bounce from the Anunoby Miss and the Sixers find themselves in the bottom five.
- Maxey hits a mid-range Crystal and then leads Harden into Anunoby’s goal to make it 95-94 with 1:14 left.
- After VanVleet missed three, Harden had another solid lead and was rewarded with a whistle. Unfortunately, he split the free throws, leaving the score tied at 95-95 with 49.7 left.
- What a brutal sequence for the Sixers. Ashoiwa grabbed the ball with the shot clock running out and Harden tackled him on his way to the basket. Tough for saving Toronto late in the hour, but even more brutal because Harden got it wrong. Wonderful.
- Ochoiwa misses them both! Six players have a chance to make their first lead with 27.2 seconds left as Harden watches helplessly. What a wild wild game.
- Oh man, the Sixers were very close to finishing this one. Embiid got three steps back, and boy, did he just miss it. Harris was able to tear the offensive bounce down, but he couldn’t finish the comeback. Overtime with no James Harden is difficult.
- A brilliant burst of Maxey to start overtime, giving the Sixers their first lead of the night at 97-95. He scored another goal on the runner a few minutes later. This moment is not great at all for this child.
- Just a ridiculous deception of Embiid to put the Sixers in a 101-100 lead. The team’s brilliant defense was delayed, especially by Embiid and Harris.
- Soft call on Embiid while Anunoby was driving to the basket, but Anunoby split the pair, and tied the game at 101-101.
- An ugly possession by the Sixers with a chance to win as Achuiwa pushes the ball away from Embiid very late in the shot clock. Rivers gets a timeout with 0.9 left in shot hour and 2.6 left in overtime.
- JOEL. Hans. EMBIID. Embiid hits the three-inning with 0.8 seconds left to give the Sixers a 104-101 lead.
It’s too big an “f-you” for the stylish crowd in Toronto. Embiid with 33 points and 28 in the second half. This guy probably won’t win the MVP award, but he sure as hell looks like the best player on the planet.
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