Joel Embiid scored a three-dagger goal with 0.8 seconds left in extra time to lift the Philadelphia 76ers to a 104-101 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, a 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Embiid finished with 33 points and 13 rebounds, ruining the Raptors’ first playoff game in Toronto in three years.
OG Anunoby has 26 points for the Raptors, who lead by 17 points. Gary Trent Jr., has scored 24 career playoffs despite battling illness this past week.
Precious Achiuwa had 20 points, while Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet both had the night, with just 12 for the Raptors, who are missing NBA rookie of the year Scottie Barnes.
The Raptors took an early 17-point lead, ultimately looking like the team had won 14 of 18 games in the short span of time. They shot 52.4% in the first half and conceded Philly 15 turns.
But the Raptors were flat in the third quarter, shooting just 1 to 7 from behind the arc, and when Embiid connected on the free throw with 5.5 seconds left in the frame, the Sixers pulled in within 75-74 with 1 /4. play.
Neither team led more than three points in the tough fourth half before VanVleet found Anunoby in a corner to make a long bomb, and Achiuwa scored on a five-pointer header after two minutes of play. .
Harden’s free throw with 49.7 seconds left ended the game. The former NBA MVP fouled out of the game 20 seconds later, cheered by the passionate crowd.
Achiuwa missed a pair of free throws with 27.2 seconds left, but Toronto locked in defense to force extra time 95-95.
In extra time, Anunoby hit the clutch basket as the timer clocked in with a 1 point lead with 2:58 to play, but Embiid responded to put Philly back in. Embiid fouled Anunoby with 26.2 seconds left and scored on one of his two free throws while Sixers coach Doc Rivers was furious with the official.
Green hit the ball with 2.6 seconds left and Embiid hit the winning shot that left Raptors fans heartbroken.
The Raptors will receive reinforcements for Game 4. Coach Nick Nurse hopes Barnes, who sprained his left ankle in Game 1, will play on Saturday. The finalist for rookie of the year did not wear walking shoes on the bench on Wednesday, and was on his feet cheering for much of the game.
The Raptors haven’t appeared in the playoffs in Toronto since Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, a memorable one-point loss to Golden State due to Kevin Durant’s Achilles tendon rupture.
COVID-19 forced the 2020 season to end in an NBA bubble at Disneyworld, and the Raptors were exiled to Tampa, Fla., last season due to border restrictions. A COVID outbreak in March of last season sent them somersaults on the leaderboards to 12th, the only year they have missed the knockout stages in the past nine seasons.
The 76ers won easily in games 1 and 2, with scores of 131-11 and 112-97.
The Raptors took a 10-point lead on Wednesday, forcing the Sixers to make nine finishes in the first quarter alone. Philadelphia only flipped the ball four times in the first half.
Anunoby had 10 points on goal and his three with 31 seconds left sent the Raptors into the second half with a score of 29-19.
Toronto opened second with a 9-2 win to add 17 points, but the Sixers fought back and Harden’s drive with 1:40 on the left cut the difference to just six points.
Quy had some hot moments. VanVleet was whistled for a foul, and then a technician for a furious argument after Embiid darted off the touchline as if blown by a gust of wind.
Green chose the technique to contest a call, and it took a couple of two-handed chest thrusts from Harden for Green to make his way toward the Philadelphia bench.
Game 5, if needed, will take place on Monday in Philadelphia.
This Canadian Press report was first published on April 20, 2022.