London ball

Sixers take 2-0 lead over Toronto Raptors

Joel Embiid had 31 points and 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the underdogs Toronto Raptors 112-97 on Monday to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

OG Anunoby had 26 points for the Raptors, who were playing without a prized rookie Scottie Barnes, who sprained his left ankle in Game 1 and sat courtside in a walking boot. An ill Gary Trent Jr. started the game but only played nine minutes.

Pascal Siakam had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto. Fred Van Vleet scored 20 points and Chris Boucher finished with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, left, throws the ball past Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Monday, April 18, 2022, in Philadelphia.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The best-of-seven series now travels to Toronto for Game 3 on Wednesday, the first time Scotiabank Arena has hosted playoff basketball since Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

In one of their worst games of the season, the Raptors looked little like the team that won three of four games against Philadelphia in the regular season.

Toronto got off to a good start and led by one point late in the first quarter, but then turned icy, missing 14 straight field goals in a dry spell that straddled the second and third quarters.

When Embiid knocked down a three-pointer late in the third, the Sixers went up 27 points to the delight of the boisterous Wells Fargo Arena. Philly took a 95-71 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Raptors finally showed some life in the fourth, reducing the difference to just 11 points with a 15-0 run punctuated by an Anunoby three-pointer. The Sixers fought back, however, and when former Raptor Danny Green went to the hoop for a dunk, Philadelphia was back by 19 with 4:18 left.

VanVleet knocked down a three with 1:12 remaining, making it a 12-point game, but Toronto couldn’t cut the deficit to single digits.

toronto raptors

Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet, left, walks off the court after Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, April 18, 2022, in Philadelphia.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Trent averaged 18 points against Philadelphia in the regular season but struggled a lot on Monday. He was held with no points and committed four fouls before calling it a night and heading to the locker room early in the third quarter.

Barnes, meanwhile, showed courage in the shooting on Monday. The NBA Rookie of the Year finalist, who was two assists away from a triple-double in his playoff debut on Saturday, said his ankle “felt better, every day for sure.”

Embiid’s 19 points in the first quarter – including 11 from the free throw line – tied his entire Game 1 total. But the Raptors got off to a good start, taking a nine-point lead.

pseudo nurse

Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors reacts during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, April 18, 2022, in Philadelphia.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

VanVleet had four three-pointers and 15 points in the frame, and the Raptors led 33-32 to start the second. It was the first time Toronto had led Philadelphia after the first quarter of the season.

The Raptors went cold in the second quarter, shooting 1 for 8 from long range and 34.8 percent from the field. On the defensive end, they allowed the Sixers to shoot 57.9%.


Fans watch the Toronto Raptors take on the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2 of the first round of NBA post-season action on the big screen outside Scotiabank Arena in “Jurassic Park” in Toronto on Monday, May 18 April 2022.


Harden’s finger roll halfway through the frame capped a 27-13 Sixers run that led them by 13. They took a 67-52 advantage at halftime.

Embiid and the Sixers beat Toronto in a 131-111 rout in Game 1 on Saturday, prompting Raptors coach Nick Nurse to challenge officials ahead of Monday’s whistleblower.

“There were several shots to the face, which I don’t understand (why they) weren’t looked at,” Nurse said. “I hope they have enough guts to at least stop the game and watch this tonight.

“I don’t mind the physical and we expect it to get physical. You have to know how to manage that. »

Game 4 is Saturday in Toronto. The series would return to Phily for Game 5 if necessary.

© 2022 The Canadian Press