This was the Raptors’ team — and the style of game — Toronto backers expected to see more of in this series.
The Raptors contained Joel Embiid and got him frustrated, they held James Harden and Tyrese Maxey in check, Pascal Siakam had 34 in his highest-scoring playoff game ever (including 15 in the fourth), and the Raptors’ depth caused issues for Philadelphia.
Spicy P getting it done on both ends! 🌶️
He's up to 25 PTS, 2 BLK on TNT#NBAPlayoffs presented by Google Pixel pic.twitter.com/f4WTzPhMr6
— NBA (@NBA) April 23, 2022
Toronto stayed alive with a 110-102 win at home. Philadelphia heads home for Game 5 on Monday up 3-1 in the series.
Fred VanVleet may not be playing in that game. A frustrated VanVleet tore his jersey as he walked off the court in the second quarter with what the team later called a strained left hip. An MRI is coming, but with Game 5 on Monday in Philadelphia, it’s fair to question if VanVleet will be able to get healthy fast enough to play in that game.
The player who stepped up for the Raptors was Thaddeus Young, who finished with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and was solid defensively. He helped fill in the gaps with both VanVleet being out and rookie Scottie Barnes, who returned from a sprained ankle but didn’t move like himself.
James Harden led the 76ers with 22 points and nine assists, while Joel Embiid had 21 points and eight rebounds. Embiid’s thumb is clearly bothering him — he is expected to get an MRI when they return to Philly — and he got increasingly frustrated at the end of the game about not getting the ball in his spots and just losing.
These were Doc Rivers' comments when asked about Joel Embiid's thumb before today's Game 4 in Toronto. pic.twitter.com/8VvQcDrjH1
— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) April 23, 2022
But the 76ers issues in this loss were bigger than just their stars. Tyrese Maxey had his first off night of the series (4-of-12 shooting). As a team they looked a step slower, a little tired, and like a team that knew it could head home to close out the series.
Toronto didn’t have that luxury and gutted out a win despite the injuries. It was Raptors basketball, the kind we saw much of the season and expected to see more of in this series. It kept them alive for Game 5, but can the Raptors replicate this on the road?