Toronto Raptors: How they obliterated the Sixers in Game 5

NBA Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
NBA Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

How the Toronto Raptors dominated the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5, leaving them one win away from another Eastern Conference Finals appearance

After a gutsy 101-96 victory in Game 4 on the road, the Toronto Raptors went into Game 5 on a mission to protect home court. To their credit, they did just that as the Raptors absolutely dominated the Philadelphia 76ers 125-89 to take a 3-2 series lead.

Let’s take a look at how exactly the Raptors put on such a dominating performance to take back control over this series.

Aggressive from start to finish

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One of the biggest criticisms of past Raptors teams has been their lack of aggressiveness at the beginning and at the end of critical games. However, like it has been said all season long this is not the Raptors team of the past.

Game 5 showed us how the Raptors came in and immediately took the fight to the Sixers by hitting their first few shots and not allowing the Sixers to be comfortable early. This allowed the Raptors to generate momentum that carried over into the second quarter where the Raptors outscored the Sixers 37-17.

The most impressive part about this game is how the Raptors never let their foot off the gas pedal. Even though early in the third quarter the Sixers were starting to climb back into the game, the Raptors held their ground and managed to still outscore the Sixers 28-27.

The Raptors also played aggressively on defense forcing the Sixers to give up 19 turnovers which led to 31 points for the Raptors. As well as holding the Sixers to shoot 41 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range.

The Raptors playing aggressively from the start of this game all the way till the end was a major reason as to why they were able to punish Sixers as they did in Game 5.

Kawhi got some help

From Games 1 through 4, it was very clear that Kawhi Leonard was carrying the Raptors on both ends of the floor, and he was not getting much help from his fellow teammates. According to a tweet by Josh Lewenberg of TSN, the Raptors in Games 1-4 without Kawhi Leonard on the floor were a -34 in 32 minutes.

The lack of production from the team besides Kawhi was a major factor as to why they lost Game 3 as the Sixers just focused on Kawhi. However, in Game 5 we finally saw the Raptors come to life as for the first time this series all five starters scored in double-digits and the Raptors without Kawhi Leonard on the floor were +16 in 12 minutes.

Two of the key contributors for the Raptors were Danny Green and Marc Gasol whom which have had relatively quite series so far. In Game 5 we saw the re-emergence of Danny Green who after having a great regular season has struggled to find his footing during this series. Green had 17 points and shot 5-7 from 3-point range, and was instrumental for the Raptors to close the game out late in the third quarter.

Along with Green, we saw Marc Gasol continue his strong performance in Game 4 and scored 11 points and played exceptional defense on Joel Embiid holding him to just 13 points and forcing eight turnovers.

Overall, the Raptors put on a great all-around team performance that led them to impressively dismantling the Sixers.

Raptors finally caught fire

Through the first four games of this series, the Raptors had struggled from 3-point range. Only shooting above 30 percent from deep in one of the first four games. However, they caught fire and it paid off in Game 5.

When the Raptors do manage to feel it from deep good things happen, in which the Raptors shot 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from deep. This opened up the floors for guys like Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam to operate in the low post to create scoring opportunities for themselves as well as their teammates.

This also created difficult situations for the Sixers as they can no longer leave guys open on the perimeter because the Raptors took advantage of far too many open looks, especially in the third quarter. This was very evident in the case of Joel Embiid who left Marc Gasol wide open on multiple occasions allowing Gasol plenty of time and space to knock down the shot.

Overall, we have seen this many times but when the Raptors shoot over 35 percent from deep as a team they tend to win those games, and most of the time they win very comfortably as we saw in Game 5.

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To sum things up, the Raptors put on an absolute clinic against the Sixers, from top to bottom, in Game 5. Leading the series 3-2, the Raptors are now in the driver seat to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in four years.