Share
Sports

76ers season has gone south with each visit to Toronto

Share

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The 76ers have gone south in Toronto.

Sixers coach Brett Brown wants the season series to come with an asterisk.

Sure, the Raptors went 3-1 against the Sixers, but Philadelphia has evolved thanks to a pair of splashy trades this season that could skew the perception that Toronto has been the dominant team in the series. The Sixers head this week to Toronto for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal with their starting five intact for the first time all season: All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, midseason acquisitions Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, and JJ Redick failed to start a game together against the Raptors.

“We all understand what the math says with our success in Toronto, and it’s not flattering,” Brown said. “But it’s also not directed to the team that we have. And so you can credit it or you can discredit it. I’m discrediting it. I think that we have a new group, we have a new opportunity.”

The Sixers and Raptors both dropped their playoff opener before winning four straight; the Raptors against Orlando and the 76ers eliminated Brooklyn. The two franchises have not met in the playoffs since Allen Iverson, now a postseason regular at his courtside seat, and the Sixers needed seven games to top Vince Carter and the Raptors in 2001.

Trending:
'Identifiable Harm': Biden Kills JFK File Release, Issues Baffling Statement

Toronto’s homecourt edge as the No. 2 seed in the East looms large — the Sixers have lost 13 straight games at Scotiabank Arena since their last win there on Nov. 10, 2012.

The Raptors made their own big deal when they acquired Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline and will count on him to try and limit Embiid. Gasol didn’t play in any of the four games in the season series. The Sixers know they’ll have their own challenges in slowing down the skilled passer as well as Kawhi Leonard and former Villanova star Kyle Lowry.

The dog days of the Process well behind them, the Sixers were built to make a deep run this season. Brown has proclaimed the Sixers are good enough to play for a championship and general manager Elton Brand made the bold deals for Butler and Harris to give the star power needed to get there. Team owner Josh Harris has offered only lukewarm support for Brown and made no guarantee the coach would return for a seventh season.

Beating the Raptors could cool that hot seat.

“We have a team that is slowly coming together,” Brown said. “They don’t have the luxury of lots of games and lots of context to share upon. And so you have Jo, you don’t. You have Jimmy Butler, you don’t. These guys have been great on trying to form a team.”

The Sixers tanked in a surprising Game 1 loss to Brooklyn, then made all the right plays over the next four games that was highlighted by a dominant 120-100 Game 5 on Tuesday night. The Sixers stunned the Nets with a 14-0 run to open the game in front of the loudest and rowdiest packed house of the season and never faced any fight from a Brooklyn team ready for summer break.

Embiid, who missed a playoff game with a bad left knee, offered a brash take on Philly’s postseason run.

“You’ve got some great teams in the league. We’re about to play one of them and then the next one will not be easy, either Milwaukee or Boston,” he said.

Embiid took a parting shot on Instagram before the series started and took a social media sabbatical. He posted a slideshow of him playing against Brooklyn, Toronto, Boston and the Golden State Warriors — a possible combination of teams that Sixers would have to beat to win their first NBA title since 1983.

Related:
New Retrial Date Set for Man Previously Convicted of Killing Ex- NFL Star

Even with the knee injury, Embiid had four double-doubles in four games against the Nets, the first 76er to open the playoffs with four straight since Hall of Famer Charles Barkley in 1986. Dating to last season, Embiid has scored 20-plus points in five straight playoff games, the longest streak since Iverson did it a franchise-best 22 straight times from 2001 to 2003.

“I didn’t finish up the regular season, so just getting my rhythm and getting healthier and just doing the right things I think is working out well,” Embiid said. “Still got a long way to go, but as long as I’m alive, I’ve got to keep pushing.”

He wants to keep that push going into June.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
,
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation