Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol need to help Kawhi Leonard

Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol need to help Kawhi Leonard

Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol need to help Kawhi Leonard

The Sixers take a 2-1 lead into Sunday's Game 4 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The story of the game was Joel Embiid, who put up a monster stat line of 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in the win to lead six 76ers in double-figures.

Kawhi Leonard registered a game-high 35 points for Toronto in the losing effort as the playoff series heads to Philadelphia. Joel Embiid guarded Pascal Siakam, Ben Simmons guarded Kawhi Leonard and forward Tobias Harris was man-up on Raptors center Marc Gasol.

While those numbers are great, it's actually nothing new to Leonard, who has a Finals MVP trophy under his belt already. Embiid made both free throws as fans - including some of Philadelphia's biggest sports stars - serenaded him with chants of 'MVP!

"We're doing a good job of attacking some mismatches and some matchups that we like, but probably just have to do a better job of working on stuff and still continuing to keep playing and find some good shots", VanVleet said after practice on Tuesday.

"I thought our defence at the start of the game was nearly as good as it could be", Sixers coach Brett Brown said.

Toronto missed six of its first eight shots, matching the number of misses it had in the first quarter of Game 1, when the Raptors made 16 of 22.

Gasol tried to poke the ball away on Embiid's post-up, but he wasn't able to prevent him from getting an uncontested layup, likely because he was focused on not committing a second foul within only three minutes of play. A unit mostly cobbled together by general manager Elton Brand during the season has outscored Toronto's bench 73-30 in the series. That didn't work and they didn't get much help from the officials, which caused more frustration.

Pascal Siakam would add 20 points on a rough 7-of-15 night.

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The way Philly put the Raptors away in the fourth felt a lot like those games in Cleveland, when it started out on a 30-5 run and James was basically mocking Raptors defenders as they attempted to slow the run down. It was such a negative reaction after I said it that no one heard I also said he was elite in transition and an elite passer.

"I've got to play better", Lowry told ESPN. Lowry, who finished with seven points on 2-for-10 shooting and was a game-worst minus-28 in 38 minutes, declared that the Raptors have to help Leonard out - him especially.

Not in Game 3.

But the Raptors clawed their way back into contention, cutting their deficit to just one point in the third period and again with 46.7 seconds remaining in the fourth.

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

With Leonard on the floor, Toronto outscored Philadelphia 97-71.

Embiid hit a three on the possession prior, giving Philadelphia a 12-point lead. "Going home we just need to do the same thing we did tonight".

Butler would convert a five-point play - he was fouled on a three-pointer and Danny Green was whistled for a technical - later in the quarter. We've all got to help him.

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.

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