The Sixers traveled to Toronto for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals tonight for one of the biggest games in Process history. The only problem? No one told the Sixers they had a game tonight. In an absolutely embarrassing showing, the Sixers dropped Game 5 by a score of 125-89.
The game started with the same kind of frenetic energy that lasted throughout much of Game 4, neither side able to grab a big enough lead to feel confident heading into the second frame. Joel Embiid wasn’t himself once again in this one, as he has been battling an upper respiratory infection that sapped his energy. The big man only had five points to go along with three turnovers through the first 12 minutes.
Jimmy Butler was once again the focal point on offense, as he brought his normal aggressiveness that led to eight early points and several trips to the free throw line. The biggest surprise of the quarter came on defense though, as Ben Simmons turned things around from his rough Game 4 performance and forced Kawhi Leonard into one of his worst quarters of the series. With Leonard only scoring five points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field, the Sixers were able to bring the score to 27-26 in favor of the Raptors by the end of the first quarter.
For all of the adjustments the Sixers made in the first quarter, they seemingly fizzled out in the second. The Sixers went back on everything they did in the first twelve minutes and the Raptors took advantage, outscoring Philadelphia by 20 in the quarter. Embiid was a non-factor, Simmons refused to attack the lane, and JJ Redick couldn't get open even if he tried. The Raptors shot 4-of-9 from deep in the quarter, while the Sixers went 0-of-8, and that stat might not even crack the top 20 reasons why the Sixers dropped this game. By the end of the second, the Raptors had opened up a 64-43 lead.
The Sixers looked ready to fight to start the second half, going on a quick 10-2 run to cut the lead to 13, but then all of a sudden, that evaporated just like every other good thing on the Sixers’ side. The Raptors were able to weather the storm and once again took control of the game. For the rest of the second half, the Raptors controlled every aspect of the game, and the Sixers decided to pack it in and let the deep bench play out most of the fourth quarter.
In the first game in which Kawhi Leonard looked semi-human, the Sixers did nothing to capitalize, and now, they look elimination straight in the face. The team was lead by Jimmy Butler and his 22 points, while the Raptors had all five of their starters in double digits, highlighted by Pascal Siakam’s 25 points. Game 6 is back in Philadelphia on Thursday, and in a win-or-go-home scenario, the Sixers need to make some huge adjustments quickly. If you missed this game, then consider yourself lucky.