May 3, 2019 / 3:07 AM / 18 days ago

Embiid lifts Sixers to 2-1 edge on Raptors

Joel Embiid had 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots to carry the 76ers past the visiting Toronto Raptors 116-95 as Philadelphia took a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday.

May 2, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler (23) during the first quarter in game three of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It was Embiid’s 12th double-double in 15 career playoff games.

Jimmy Butler added 22 points, nine assists and nine rebounds while JJ Redick contributed 15 points for the third-seeded Sixers. Game 4 will be played in Philadelphia on Sunday.

Kawhi Leonard paced the second-seeded Raptors with 33 points while Pascal Siakam added 20. Leonard has scored at least 30 points in five of Toronto’s eight playoff games this season, including all three games against Philadelphia.

An early 8-0 run in the second quarter pushed the Sixers to a 40-29 lead.

Leonard made a difficult jumper from the wing and Kyle Lowry followed with a layup to close Toronto within 52-46 with 3:22 remaining in the second.

Thanks in large part to Embiid’s 18 points and the team shooting 8 of 14 from beyond the 3-point arc, the Sixers held a 64-53 lead at halftime.

Leonard paced Toronto with 17 points in the first half.

Butler drove into the lane and dropped in a floater for a 75-57 Sixers advantage with 8:14 left in the third.

The Raptors stayed close because Leonard scored 14 points in the third, and they trailed 89-81 at the end of the quarter. Siakam had a wide open look on a 3-pointer but hit the front rim as time expired.

Embiid knocked down his third 3-pointer and the Sixers bolted to a 94-82 lead early in the fourth.

On Toronto’s next possession, Siakam had his shot blocked by Embiid. Siakam then appeared to trip Embiid and he sprawled to the floor. Siakam was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul, and Embiid made both free throws for a 96-82 advantage.

Consecutive baskets from Butler gave the Sixers a 100-82 edge with 9:01 remaining.

Butler later threw down a dunk, got fouled and put the Sixers ahead 108-84 with 5:51 left.

The Raptors missed 11 of their first 12 shots in the fourth.

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