Team Ready for Battle in Front of Supportive Home Crowd

by Lauren Rosen

Behind one of the best home court advantages in the NBA, the 76ers have thrived at The Center in recent seasons. They’ll be looking to tap into that success again Thursday for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup with the Toronto Raptors.

Toronto holds a 3-2 series lead in the best-of-seven series. For the Sixers, it’s a must-win game.

“I love playing at home,” Joel Embiid said. “I expect the atmosphere to be great. I think it pushes us. We’re going to need [our fans], so I’m excited.”

The Sixers were stellar in South Philadelphia this past season, winning 31 times for the third-highest total among all Eastern Conference teams. The club also boasted the highest attendance in the league (20,441 avg).

Just how dangerous have the Sixers been on the home hardwood?

In the regular season, the Sixers had the second-highest scoring offense in the league at home, averaging 118.2 points per game in the regular season.

During the postseason, the team has shared an average of 27.0 assists per game at home, another second-highest total in the league. The Sixers are also the third-best shooting home team in the playoffs (48.2%).

It’s been quite the series for Jimmy Butler, who has scored at least 22 points in each of the last four games. In the Sixers’ most home appearance, Game 4, Butler recorded a 29-point, 11-rebound double-double. In Game 3, also played at The Center, Butler notched 22 points, grabbed nine boards, and dished out nine assists.

For Butler, the plan is simple.

“Keep competing, keep playing hard, stick together, have each other’s backs, and know that not one player on our team’s going to be able to do it by themselves,” Butler said following Game 5 in Toronto.

The Sixers on Thursday will be looking to channel the type of effort they displayed in a dominant Game 3 victory. That night, Embiid cranked out 33 points, to go with 10 rebounds, three assists, and five blocks.

Each of the Sixers’ starters finished in double figures, as the Sixers outrebounded the Raptors, 45-35, and out-assisted Toronto, 29-15, in the decisive 116-95 victory.

"We're excited to go back to Philadelphia," Brett Brown said. “We have a prideful team.”

And a prideful crowd, which will the Sixers know will turn out as they aim to extend the series.

"Their crowd is unbelievable," said Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, a North Philadelphia native. "They cheer hard for their team."

“We’ve just got to go in and do what we’re supposed to do on the home floor - that’s it,” Butler said.

Game 6 tips off at 8:00 p.m. ET at The Center.

Follow Along:

Audio: 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network

Video: ESPN / watchESPN.com

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