EditorsNote: tweaked 7th graf, removed Butler’s first name in 14th graf
Kawhi Leonard had 39 points and 14 rebounds and the second-seeded Toronto Raptors defeated the host Philadelphia 76ers 101-96 on Sunday to even the Eastern Conference semifinals at two games apiece.
Marc Gasol scored 16 points and Kyle Lowry added 14 points and seven assists for Toronto.
Pascal Siakam, who had been doubtful with a sore calf, was in the starting lineup and missed his first seven shots, but he gave the Raptors a lift with nine points and three steals.
Game Five is Tuesday in Toronto.
Jimmy Butler paced the third-seeded Sixers with 29 points and 11 rebounds while JJ Redick added 19. Joel Embiid, who was reportedly ill, had only 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists one game after scoring 33 in Philadelphia’s Game 3 victory.
Leonard was terrific with 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Raptors pulled ahead 47-45 at halftime. It was the first time in Leonard’s career that he posted at least 15 points and 10 rebounds in any half.
Butler was the only Philadelphia player in double figures with 14 points in the first half. Embiid appeared to be bothered by a left leg issue and finished the first two quarters with only six points and five rebounds.
Butler hit a difficult 3-pointer from the wing and the Sixers pulled ahead 57-52 with 7:48 left in the third.
Siakam finally recorded his first basket when he received a pass from Lowry and threw down a dunk for a 66-65 Raptors advantage with 4:15 remaining in the third.
Harris later drained a 3-pointer to give the Sixers a two-point lead with under a minute left in the quarter. Serge Ibaka then hit a jump hook in the lane and the Raptors tied the game at 75 at the end of the third.
The game became quite chippy with bodies falling to the floor and both teams diving for loose balls while playing a physical brand of basketball.
Leonard hit 1 of 2 two free throws and Toronto led 85-84 with 6:20 left.
Despite missing nine straight shots, the Sixers still trailed by only 89-87 with 2:35 remaining after a pair of Butler free throws.
Leonard’s trey with the shot clock running out gave the Raptors a 94-90 advantage with 1:01 left, and after Tobias Harris missed a 3-pointer on the 76ers’ ensuing possession, Toronto sealed the win by making 7 of 10 free throws down the stretch.
—Field Level Media