Joel Embiid plays through thumb injury, Toronto takes Game 4 – NBC10 Philadelphia

3 observations after Embiid plays in pain, Sixers can’t sweep Raptors originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Sixers will still have work to do when they return to Philadelphia.

The team failed to sweep its first-round playoff series against the Raptors Saturday afternoon in Toronto, losing 110-102 at Scotiabank Arena.

Pascal Siakam scored 34 points and Gary Trent Jr. added 24.

James Harden led the Sixers with 22 points and nine assists. Joel Embiid had 21 points and eight rebounds.

Game 5 takes place Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Here are the observations on the Sixers’ first playoff loss:

Uncomfortable exit for Embiid

Embiid suffered an injury that the Sixers are currently calling a “sprained right thumb.”

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers told reporters in Toronto that the team knew he couldn’t make things worse by playing, but it was “not a big injury.”

Embiid started Saturday’s game 0 for 5 from the floor. On a positive note, Embiid and the Sixers were initially much better at avoiding turnovers than they were in their messy start to Game 3; the team had only one gift in the first quarter.

Embiid threw a fine pass from the nail to Shake Milton in the corner, and Milton’s three-pointer made it 16-13 Sixers. However, Milton and Embiid were twice out of line when the big man thought the 25-year-old guard would stand still in his post and not start moving to a new location. Embiid had a bit more offensive success in the second quarter, although his thumb pain was evident.

For good reason, the Raptors weren’t shy about hitting the ball and going out of their way to increase Embiid’s discomfort. Although Embiid proved he didn’t mind plowing through contact and enduring long physical games full of double teams, he expressed his displeasure when he received no fouls on an early lay-up. of the third quarter. Rivers was also unhappy.

Embiid threw a cross pass on his next catch which resulted in an easy quick hoop for Trent. Under these circumstances, it’s hard to stick to simple, low-risk games. To Embiid’s credit, he kept his composure and made a basic and productive flat out to Tyrese Maxey for a three that cut the Raptors’ lead to 64-63.

Although he hit two tough fadeaways in the third quarter, the lack of expected whistles seemed to wear on Embiid. We will surely learn more in the coming days about Embiid’s injury and the impact it will have on the team’s most important player.

Sixers can’t hold steady

For a few minutes, it appeared that Paul Reed’s score would allow the Sixers to hold on well in their first stint without Embiid.

Reed made his first three-point shot since a garbage jumper on March 10, then passed Thaddeus Young and converted a layup on the Sixers’ next possession. The Raptors began to take control, however, with Embiid on the bench. Siakam took a lucky shot on Reed, and Trent’s pull-up gave Toronto a 38-32 advantage.

The Sixers tried to steady the ship when Embiid came back playing in an area, but they didn’t rebound well and had several clear defensive breakdowns. Chris Boucher cut behind Tobias Harris in the area and slammed in a dunk. Trent then broke free in transition on a turnover from Maxey and buried a three-pointer to extend the Raptors’ lead to 12 points.

Twelve seconds into the third quarter, the Sixers’ deficit was reduced to two points after a three from Danny Green. Shortly after, Harris tied the game at 54-all with a southpaw drive and finish. Harris continued his strong streak with an impressive start to the afternoon that included a quick finger roll and a backhanded third corner.

However, Harris and the Sixers weren’t as successful defensively on Siakam as they were in Game 3. After a nimble and demanding streak, Harris picked up his fifth foul on a Siakam jump with 7:56 left in the fourth. period.

Harden fell to 3 for 11 from the floor in the third quarter when missing an open float. He opened the fourth well, knocking down a short jumper and two free throws, but Siakam’s aggression and Toronto’s superior pace helped the Raptors come back 88-81, leading Rivers to call time out.

Maxey came back from Game 3 to five turnovers and an assist with six cents and just one freebie. He did, however, get his lowest score of the series, recording 11 points on a 4-for-12 shot.

The Sixers again used an eight-man rotation but reduced Danny Green’s minutes to 28 after playing 46 in Game 3. Georges Niang was fouled on 22 minutes. Matisse Thybulle, who wasn’t eligible to play in Canada because he’s not fully vaccinated, will be available again for Game 5. He should definitely come in handy.

Raptors battle their own health issues

Scottie Barnes, who was announced as Rookie of the Year this season before the game, has returned from a sprained left ankle in Game 1.

Barnes was one of many players to operate at less than 100% health, and it looked like his afternoon might end prematurely when he stepped on Reed’s foot early in the second quarter. The 20-year-old stayed in the game, however, and he had six points and 11 rebounds. Barnes played 26 minutes, none in the fourth quarter.

Fred VanVleet’s health was a major issue for the Raptors before the series due to his ongoing right knee issue and statistical decline since the All-Star break. He ripped his jersey off the field in the second quarter, then was assessed for left hip pain at halftime and eventually ruled out for a sprained hip.

Siakam and Trent carried Toronto’s offense in the first half, totaling 33 points before intermission. Under an All-Star guard, the Raptors stayed alive by playing to their strengths. They beat the Sixers in points on turnovers (22-3) and quick break points (21-10) by substantial margins.

VanVleet had been shooting poorly since a blistering start to Game 2. Regardless of his future availability, Toronto have shown they are a resilient team and a Sixers series victory is yet to be cemented.

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