By Tennie Sumague
EBC New York Bureau
PHILADELPHIA (Eagle News) – Knee tendinitis and gastroenteritis may have hindered Philadelphia 76ers center, Joel Embiid’s subpar Game 1 and 2 performances but the All-Star center’s blistering dominance on offense and defense lifted the Sixers to a 116-95 Game 3 win over the Toronto Raptors Thursday night.
Embiid finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 3 assists and showed off his fun-loving antics to give boisterous Sixers fans reasons to trust “The Process.”
“I think for anyone that knows me, you know, I want to have fun,” Embiid said. “I got to have fun on the court. At the same time, I got to beat the players. That’s part of the theatrics, it has to happen for me and the game is more fun that way. We all have fun as a team. You can see it lifts my teammates and we all do a good job.”
Embiid’s high-level tenacity compliments the Sixers fierceness, giving many a reason to believe that this team has chemistry. Sixers forward, Jimmy Butler begs to differ.
“I think chemistry is a bad word, like everybody wants to say that because we played together, however many games we didn’t play together, however many games—it’s simple enough to know that whenever you have some good basketball players out there, the game happens,” Butler said. “You make the right plays, you do what you’re supposed to do with the basketball, and that’s all it is. The game is really, really simple. I think at times we, as players, decide to make it hard, but if you’re open, shoot it, do not pass.”
Kawhi Leonard had another outstanding performance for the Raptors with 33 points, but the team was outplayed in every area. All-Star guard and Philadelphia native, Kyle Lowry, was limited to 7 points.
“Yeah, I think we got outplayed in just about every area we could get outplayed in,” Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse said. “Just in overall physicality, energy, cutting, rebounding, passing, you know, all of that kind of stuff, we got thoroughly outplayed and it’s been a while. Right? It’s been a while since we’ve seen this team play that way.”
Nurse hopes the Raptors can regroup for Game 4 to level the series.
“I think the first adjustment, we’re going to have to make it, I guess we’re going to have to play all of them a lot harder. We’re going to have to play a lot more physical. I mean if we don’t do that, the prettiest things we decided to do offensively aren’t going to matter much.”
Raptors and Sixers playoff series continues on Sunday from Wells Fargo Center.
(Eagle News Service)