Philadelphia 76ers 116-95 Toronto Raptors: Joel Embiid inspires hosts

Philadelphia 76ers 116-95 Toronto Raptors: Joel Embiid inspires hosts

For all the talk coming into the game on how Nurse wanted Gasol to be the third option, he still finished with only six attempts.

Joel Embiid, however, answered with a driving layup in traffic to make the score 92-89.

Despite a 33-point night from the Toronto Raptors superstar, it was the Philadelphia 76ers - led by 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks from their dazzling Cameroonian All-Star - who won the night 116-95. He was, in keeping with our theme, Jon Snow facing off against an army of white walkers.

Outside Leonard and Pascal Siakam, Toronto has gotten very little production from the supporting cast. Having already dropped a game at home this week, the Raptors will have to find a way to win in Philadelphia, where the Sixers were 31-10 this season. If Leonard is going to be the only reliable playoff scorer on his team, he could do that anywhere.

Butler may be the third option at times on a team with All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but Butler was the difference Tuesday in the 76ers getting their first win in Toronto since November 10, 2012. Teams with the advantage in this situation in the National Basketball Association end up winning the series at about an 80 per cent clip.

The 76ers never trailed in the game and are poised to take a stranglehold on the series with Sunday's game four also in front of their raucous home crowd at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.

The addition of Marc Gasol at the trade deadline was thought to be one that might put the Raptors over the top in the East. We're getting good looks. "It's not a big deal". The Sixers reached the East semis last season and both team owner Josh Harris and Brown issued the challenge for the franchise to go further - or else. Outside of Kawhi and Siakam, these Raptors delivered a game where they seemed like they were ready to lose.

Leading into Game 3, the Raptors had held their opponents to under 100 points for six consecutive games. The hope was obviously that he would say he had fallen in love with the city, that he had found a nice samosa joint and that he had come to appreciate a crisp winter walk under a gentle snowfall.

As will, duh, the actual Raptors.

Things have been a bit more dramatic in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly squabbles.

"That's my guy", Siakam said of Embiid. There has been speculation about the compatibility of their playing styles, and their personalities.

"Chemistry is overrated", he said, per Ben Golliver of the Washington Post. Yes, they've looked like hot garbage the past two games. There's a chance you saw these tweets in the aftermath of the game, but basically, when Leonard is on the floor in the three games against Philadelphia, good things happen. Lowry, off a 2-for-10 shooting night, said he simply had to be better. Coach Nick Nurse said it was all a mess. "We've got to help him", Lowry said. "In overall physicality, energy, cutting, rebounding, passing, all that kind of stuff". This efficient group had enabled the Raptors to a 5-2 record through those games, and while there was clearly work to be done to solve the issues with the bench and transition lineups to get the team rolling on all cylinders, the starters were as dependable as could be and that gave the team a lot of room for error. Philadelphia's monster is awake, and the Raptors are in his path, needing some bigger arrows.

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