The Toronto Raptors beat the Philadelphia 76ers 92-90 on Sunday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series to book their place in the Conference Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Kawhi Leonard scored 41 points, including a buzzer-beating shot from the corner over Joel Embiid that bounced off the rim four times before falling to win the game and the series for the Raptors.
Serge Ibaka added 17 points, with Pascal Siakam having 11 points and 11 rebounds for Toronto.
The 76ers were led by Embiid with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while JJ Redick had 17 points, Butler added 16, and Tobias Harris had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The 76ers made 17 turnovers leading to 21 points for the Raptors.
The Raptors now advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in four seasons. Toronto will open the Conference Finals on Wednesday night in Milwaukee.
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Jimmy Butler scored 25 points for the 76ers, with Ben Simmons adding 21. Simmons had no turnovers and six assists in 34 minutes.
Joel Embiid, who has struggled with a left knee injury and a stomach bug for most of the playoffs, had 17 points and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes, but walked into the postgame press conference with his left knee packaged in ice,
Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points for the Raptors, but was largely kept in check by the Sixers until the game was already lost for Toronto.
The decisive Game 7 will take place Sunday night in Toronto, with the Milwaukee Bucks awaiting the winner in the Eastern Conference Final.
Game 6 Update – The Toronto Raptors routed the Philadelphia 76ers 125-89 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The margin of victory means that the momentum is now firmly with the Toronto Raptors and they can advance to the Eastern Conference finals for what would be the second time in four seasons with a victory in Game 6 at Philadelphia on Thursday night.
The Raptors were up by just one point after the first, but then outscored the 76ers 37-17 in the second to take a game-winning 21-point lead at halftime.
Pascal Siakam scored 25 points for the Raptors, with Kawhi Leonard adding 21 points and 13 rebounds. Kyle Lowry scored 19 points.
For the 76ers, Jimmy Butler scored 22 points and Tobias Harris had 15, while Joel Embiid started despite missing the morning shoot-around as a result of flu-like symptoms. He scored 13 points and had eight turnovers.
Game 6 will take place in Philadelphia, on Thursday.
Game 5 Update – The Toronto Raptors beat the Philadelphia 76ers 101-96 on Sunday night to level the NBA Playoff Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2.
After back-to-back losses in the previous two games, the victory also ensured that the Raptors reclaimed home-court advantage in the series. The Sixers know that they now have to win at least one more road game in Toronto if they are to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
Kawhi Leonard scored 39 points for the Raptors, including a vital 3-pointer with 1:01 left. Marc Gasol scored 16 points and Kyle Lowry added 14 for Toronto.
Pascal Siakam played 28 minutes for the Raptors after being doubtful because of a right calf injury.
Jimmy Butler scored 29 points and JJ Redick had 19 for the Sixers. A doubt on the morning of the game, All-Star center Joel Embiid played through an illness for the 76ers, but could only contribute 11 points.
Game 5 will be on Tuesday night in Toronto.
Game 4 Update – The Philadelphia 76ers eased to a 116-95 win over the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night in Game 3 of their second-round NBA Playoff to move into a 2-1 lead in the series.
The 76ers shot 51.2 per cent from the field and knocked down 10 of their 23 three-point attempts.
Philadelphia center player Joel Embiid scored 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Embiid went 9 of 18 from the floor and made 12 of 13 free throws. Jimmy Butler added 22 points for the Sixers.
Kawhi Leonard registered 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting for the Toronto Raptors, while Pascal Siakam added 20 points.
Game 4 is will take place in Philadelphia on this Sunday night.
Game 3 Update – The Philadelphia 76ers held on to beat the Toronto Raptors 94-89 on Monday night, leveling the Eastern Conference second round series 1-1 by doing so.
The Raptors were down 19 at one stage in the first half, cut the deficit to one late in the third, but could never turn the game in their favour.
Jimmy Butler had 30 points and 11 rebounds for the Sixers. Joel Embiid scored 12 points in 32 minutes despite missing the morning shootaround because of flu-like symptoms. Greg Monroe left in the third because of a sore left ankle and did not return.
Kawhi Leonard scored 35 points for the Raptors, Pascal Siakam had 21 and Kyle Lowry 20.
Game 3 is on Thursday night in Philadelphia.
Game 2 Update – The Toronto Raptors took a 1-0 lead in it’s Eastern Conference semifinals series with a 108-95 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 on Saturday night.
Kawhi Leonard made 16 of the 23 shots he attempted and 10 of 11 free throws to take him to a career playoff high total 45 points for the Raptors. In addition, Pascal Siakam finished with 29 points for the Raptors.
For the Sixers, Joel Embiid was held to 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting, with the Toronto duo of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka doing a good job on the Philadelphia danger man.
Game 2 takes place in Toronto on Monday.
The Toronto Raptors meet the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs.
Both teams came through the first round in five games having lost their opener on home-court, with the Raptors seeing off Orlando Magic and the 76ers beating the Brooklyn Nets.
The Raptors hold home-court advantage, which could be a significant factor considering they went 32-9 on their own floor over the course of the regular season.
Toronto also holds the edge over the Sixers from the regular season matchups, in which they won three of four meetings. The one loss they did suffer against Philly came in a game where Kawhi Leonard sat out.
There’s a strong argument to be made here for the Sixers having the stronger starting five currently though. Although Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick still don’t have a great deal of experience in playing games together as yet (the additions of Butler and Harris only coming in November and February respectively).
Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers Betting Lines & Pick
The big question mark for the 76ers is the fitness levels of Embiid, with the tendonitis in his knee potentially being the decisive factor in this series. If it holds up, the Sixers could be in business but, if it doesn’t, it could push the series towards the Raptors.
The fitness of Embiid makes any NBA Playoff predictions for this series particularly challenging, but that doubt along with home-court advantage makes the Raptors the pick for us.
It’s a series that could very easily go down to a seventh and deciding game though, so taking the odds on a 4-3 win for the Raptors has some betting appeal once the full NBA odds lines becomes available.