PHILADELPHIA—It was a hostile environment that awaited the Toronto Raptors when they ventured to the Wells Fargo Center here for Game 3 of their NBA Eastern Conference semifinal with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.
There are few arenas louder than Philadelphia’s and few collections of fans more boisterous.
The Raptors – and in particular Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry – knew what was in store for them.
“You know it’s going to be loud, but we have a good team, a veteran team, we know the crowd doesn’t really affect what we do,” Lowry said at the morning shootaround. “We just have to go out there and stay poised, stay level-headed, don’t get too up, don’t get too down. Pretty much what we’ve been doing all year. We’ll be all right.”
The series is tied 1-1 with Game 4 here Sunday afternoon and Game 5 in Toronto on Tuesday night. Game 6, if necessary, will be back here next Thursday night.
Stay tuned to our live blog for reaction all fame long. Long-time Raptors reporter Doug Smith will have his takeaways posted below the tracker after each quarter.
Raptors 53, 76ers 64
The Sixers had their most explosive offensive quarter of the series, blistering shooting to open and close the quarter as they took a 64-53 lead at the intermission.
After Toronto closed to within six points, Philadelphia rattled off an 8-0 run to regain control as the Raptors played by far their worse defensive half of the season.
Embiid finished the half with 18 points for Philadelphia, Leonard had 17 for the Raptors.
The most glaring missed call – and dirtiest play of the series – came when Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons elbowed Toronto’s Kyle Lowry in the groin well behind the play.
It’s a continuation of a contentious rivalry between the two guards, who were once ejected for a scuffle during a regular season game.
Raptors 29, 76ers 32
If there was a storm to be weathered early in the game, the Raptors weathered it fairly well with Philadelphia only holding a 32-29 advantage after a quarter.
The Sixers tried to establish Joel Embiid as an offensive force right off the bad, using him in the post or at the elbow on Toronto’s Marc Gasol. Embiid had seven points in the first five minutes of the quarter.
But the Raptors, who fell behind by seven points in the first few minutes, didn’t get rattled and got nine points from Kawhi Leonard.
Toronto did make a subtle rotation change, taking Gasol out in favour of Serge Ibaka about two minutes earlier than usual and while Embiid was on the bench for his usual first-quarter rest.
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Doug Smith is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @smithraps