HELP WANTED: Raptors' Leonard can't beat Sixers by himself

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Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers dunks the ball past Marc Gasol #33 of the Toronto Raptors in the fourth quarter of Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center on May 2, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kawhi Leonard put the Toronto Raptors on his back in the third quarter in Game 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers, scoring 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting to bring his team to within striking distance heading into the final frame.

It's a very good sign for 76ers bettors when Joel Embiid contributes just 12 points and six rebounds and you can still come away with a road win in the playoffs. In fact, speaking of suspensions, that Simmons plays doesn't look all that much different from the one that got Draymond Green suspended from Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, after Green took a shot at LeBron's groin area in Game 4. Early shots weren't falling and instead of slowing the game down and trying to create offence at the free throw line, the Raps kept trying to shoot jumpers to get out of the slump.

Before Game 3 tipped off in Philadelphia, we knew that we were about to find out which team was in the throes of a full-on crisis. After giving up 51 and 52 points in the first two games of the series, the Raptors gave up 64 in the first half to the Sixers.

"I thought our defence at the start of the game was nearly as good as it could be", Sixers coach Brett Brown said. The Sixers haven't won a second-round series since 2001.

Toronto's bench was supposed to be an advantage in this series, but...

"This is not a good time to talk about 'The Process, '" Embiid said without a hint of irony despite the fact he wore a sweatshirt that had "The Process" printed on it. "Focus on the playoffs and we got a great opportunity up [3-1] on Sunday". But we got a lot more to give.

Leonard scored 33 points, and Siakam added 20.

'When I have fun, my game just changes, ' Embiid said. "I think that it's a launching pad", Brown said pre-game. And after the game they owned it. "I keep saying when Kawhi and Kyle are playing as hard as they can play, everybody that steps on the floor probably is willing to play hard, too".

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Meanwhile, the Nuggets picked up a 121-113 home win over the Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their Western Conference second-round clash.

Embiid scored 12 points in 32 minutes despite missing the morning shootaround because of flu-like symptoms.

"I mean, for me it goes straight to the blocks", Brown said when asked what stood out about Embiid's night.

Toronto is in Philadelphia for a Thursday night postseason event with a scheduled tipoff of 8:00 p.m. ET. And when Leonard checked back in, the Sixers outright disrespected the other four Raptors on the floor by aggressively double teaming Leonard and daring anyone else to beat them.

Jimmy Butler has been the adult in the gym for the 76ers.

Pascal Siakam had 21 points for the Raptors, who overcame a 19-point deficit to make it a game down the stretch.

The Sixers getting nine more rebounds in that first half than the Raptors didn't help matters either.

There has been a narrative in the National Basketball Association over the last few seasons that Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors tends to disappear come playoff time.

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