Game 5 Preview: Raptors vs Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers (2-2) @ Toronto Raptors (2-2)
When: Tuesday, May 7th, 8 P.M. ET
Where: Scotiabank Arena
Leading into tonight’s game:
- Injury report: For the Raptors, OG Anunoby (appendectomy), and Jordan Loyd (coach’s decision) are out. Chris Boucher (back spasms) is questionable. For the Sixers, the injury report is to be determined.
- All tied up: The Raptors are back in Toronto with their second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers tied up at two games apiece. Toronto is 8-4 overall in Game 5s and enter Tuesday’s Game 5 having won three straight.
- Recent history: The Raptors earned a huge 101-96 road win in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon to tie the series up at two games apiece before things shifted back to Toronto for Tuesday’s Game 5. Kawhi Leonard had a game-high 39 points, including the step-back three-pointer to put the Raptors ahead by four with a minute remaining. Marc Gasol had his highest-scoring game of the postseason, adding 16 points to go with five rebounds, three assists and a stellar defensive effort, while Kyle Lowry added 14 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. The Sixers were led by Jimmy Butler, who finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, and JJ Redick who added 19 points in the loss.
- Continued excellence: Kawhi Leonard’s 39-point performance in Toronto’s Game 4 victory was a continuation of his stellar play in these playoffs. Leonard is second in the league in postseason scoring averaging 32.3 points per game. Even more impressive, he is averaging 38 points on 62 percent shooting, including 49 percent shooting from three, in four games against the Sixers this series. Leonard shot 13-for-20 from the floor in Sunday's win, including 5-for-7 from beyond the arc and 8-for-12 at the free-throw line. He also collected a game-high 14 rebounds, helping the Raptors to finish the game tied with the Sixers in rebounds, something that they have struggled with in this series. “He's a really good player,” Jimmy Butler said after the game. “He's been doing it for a long time in the league now. He's done it every game of this series.” Leonard’s 39 points in Sunday’s road win was the highest point total for a Raptors player in the postseason on the road.
- Locking in: After giving up 116 points in a Game 3 loss in Philadelphia, Toronto’s defence was back on point in Game 4, as the Raptors held the Sixers under 100 points for the third time in four games this series. Philadelphia shot just 40 percent in the game, compared to Toronto’s 46 percent shooting. With the game on the line and the score tied at 75 heading into the fourth quarter, Toronto’s defence was at its best, holding Philadelphia to just 24 percent shooting in the final quarter. The Raptors shot 50 percent in the fourth as they finally were able to clinch the victory at the free-throw line in the final minute.
- Stepping up: Serge Ibaka came off the bench to provide a huge — and much needed — boost in Toronto’s Game 4 victory. With Pascal Siakam slowed because of a calf contusion, the Raptors needed a scoring boost and presence. Siakam is Toronto’s second-leading scorer in the postseason, averaging 21.3 points per contest, but he was held to just nine points in Game 4 as he played despite the sore calf. Ibaka stepped in to play 33 minutes, scoring 12 points to go with nine rebounds and three blocked shots without a turnover. Though Ibaka and Marc Gasol haven’t spent a lot of time playing together, they figured out how to share the floor quickly in Game 4 and the team benefitted greatly. “It was one of those nights where we didn't try to make it look pretty,” Ibaka said after the game. “We had to try to grind, man. I don't care if we didn't have space tonight. We tried to grind on the defensive end, and on offence, just play basketball.”