Former NBA scout Bryan Oringher breaks down what went wrong for Toronto in their 96-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Toronto didn’t play with the necessary urgency or toughness to win a dogfight playoff game. Raptors center Marc Gasol didn’t play with enough aggression or take open shots, and Fred Van Vleet has given the Raptors nothing, especially as part of a second unit that most thought had the advantage in this matchup. Defensively, the Raptors either gambled too much or just did not match the effort of the 76ers.
Joel Embiid was huge in this game at home with 31 points, 10 rebounds and five big blocks. All five of the 76ers starters reached double figures, while the Raptors had just Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam and Danny Green reach that mark.
In our series preview, we detailed why the Raptors bigs were X-Factors in that they would provide a stiffer challenge to Embiid than Jarrett Allen could. That was definitely not the case in Game 3. We also talked about the importance of Jimmy Butler playing a bigger role in this series. Aside from his scoring and defense, Butler’s leadership on Thursday night was key.
As a whole, the Raptors were simply outplayed. Oringher says the Raptors can bounce back by playing with more intensity and to expect a much chippier Game 4 Sunday afternoon back in Philadelphia. Expect Raptors coach Nick Nurse to try switching up the rotation some if the bench continues to struggle.
The Raptors going back home down 1-3 would be a rough situation and they would have to win every game from then on, so a lot rides on Sunday’s game.