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Sixers defeat Raptors 112-101, force Game 7 in Toronto

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Toronto Raptors 112-101, knotting the Eastern Conference Semifinals series at 3-3 and forcing a Game 7. It started off as a game of runs, with each team trading x-number-and-0 streaks. But the Sixers outscored the Raptors in each of the first 3 quarters (with an especially strong 1st quarter, 29-21), going into the final frame with a comfortable 20-point lead.

Ben Simmons stood out for Philly, responding emphatically to a prior week of lackluster play, totaling 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting (3 for 6 FT), 8 rebounds and 6 assists while not having a single turnover. Simmons was aggressive early on in the game, engaged on both ends of the floor and played like he had something to prove.

Jimmy Butler led the Sixers in scoring, contributing 25 points on 9 for 18 from the floor (7 for 7 FT, 0 for 1 3PT) with 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Butler had an incredible sequence to close out the first half:

Joel Embiid did not look back to 100% just yet, but he certainly looked to be progressing on the road to recovery. Embiid was more active on the offensive end than he had been of late, attempting 14 shots and sinking 5 (2 for 3 3PT, 5 for 7 FT) for 17 points. Joel was a factor on the defensive end with plays like this:

For the second straight game, Philly’s defense has kept Kawhi Leonard under 30 points (low bar, I know). Leonard shot 9 for 20 from the field (8 for 8 FT, 0 for 4 3PT) on his way to 29 points while racking up 12 boards and 5 assists. The Sixers sent double teams to Kawhi, which were pretty hit-or-miss.

The Sixers dominated this game for the most part. Every time the Raptors clawed their way back into the game, Philly had an answer of their own. There was a noticeably improved energy about the team in comparison to their performance in Game 5. Even Mike Scott got in on the good juju, hitting a trio of threes and contributing 11 points. There was one area of particular concern, however: Boban Marjanovic entered the game to grind out some backup center minutes in the first half, and he was a travesty on defense. The Raptors took advantage of Boban relentlessly. Brett Brown doesn’t really have anywhere else to turn during sans Embiid minutes, he may have no option other than to rely on going small.

Game 7 will be Sunday, May 12th at 7 pm EST in Toronto. The Philadelphia 76ers have not played in a Game 7 since May 26th, 2012. The Toronto Raptors have opened as 6-point favorites. It should be a very competitive game if both teams are clicking. The Raptors have the home court advantage, but Philly is far from doomed. They’ve taken the Raptors this far, they need 48 more minutes to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals — a feat not achieved by the Sixers since 2001.