TORONTO–The Philadelphia 76ers finally took care of business on Thursday when they knocked off the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of their Round 1 series in blowout fashion by a score of 132-97. Joel Embiid led Philadelphia with 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Sixers are now headed to Round 2.
The Sixers knew what was at stake here. The Raptors are a pesky group and they were able to battle back and get two games after falling behind 3-0 in the series. Philadelphia was staring at infamy, but they then put that to bed by outscoring Toronto 37-17 in the third and then 33-19 in the fourth.
“We knew what was at stake for us,” said Tobias Harris. “No disrespect to our fans, but we did not wanna come back to Wells Fargo for Game 7. We wanted to end it tonight (Thursday) out here and that was only right. We wanted to be in our building for Game 3 of the next series. Maybe we were overconfident, but I just think we had too much slippage of what was working for us and that was why I thought we lost those other games.”
That was the big message after the Game 5 loss. There was no reason to go back to Philadelphia for Game 7.
“We weren’t going back to Philly for Game 7,” said James Harden. “We had opportunities the last few games to put them away and we didn’t. So I wanted to come out and be aggressive, not just scoring the basketball, but making the right plays, and getting into the paint. I know good things would happen.”
The Sixers were so locked in that they tuned out coach Doc Rivers at shootaround on Thursday morning. They just wanted to get to the game.
“Our shootaround was terrible today because they didn’t want anymore and I called it,” said Rivers. “I told Dave (Joerger) 15 minutes into shootaround, they didn’t wanna hear us anymore. They were done with coaching and they had heard it already. They were ready to play. They were locked in and so we cut shootaround short. Know when your team is ready and so we got out of there quick. That was a 35-minute shootaround this morning because of that.”
Now, Philadelphia will take on the Miami Heat in Round 2.