Toronto Raptors regroup after Game 2 loss to Sixers leaves series tied at one

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors regrouped Tuesday after an off-night in Game 2 blunted the momentum from a dominant opening performance in their second-round series against Philadelphia.

There was plenty to pick apart after a woeful first half led to a 94-89 loss to the 76ers at Scotiabank Arena on Monday night.

Philadelphia made matchup adjustments after Toronto’s 108-95 victory in Game 1 and it seemed to catch the Raptors off guard. Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard had another big night but the Raptors’ bench struggled, the team’s three-point shooting was poor and the 76ers had a 52-36 edge on rebounds.

“We thrive and have our best offence when we’re running and don’t give them a chance to match up,” said Toronto swingman Danny Green. “We’ve got to find a way to get stops to do that.”

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam had a tougher time in Game 2 against Sixers big man Joel Embiid while Ben Simmons did his best to stifle Leonard, who led the Raptors with 35 points but was held to 3-for-10 from distance. Siakam finished with 21 points on 9-for-25 shooting and Kyle Lowry added 20 points.

Toronto’s bench players were held to just five points.

Serge Ibaka scored two points over 13 minutes and Norm Powell made one three-pointer over his 15 minutes of play. Fred VanVleet was solid at the defensive end but held scoreless over 18 minutes and Jodie Meeks didn’t score during his brief appearance.

“For me it was trying to stick to our guns a little bit,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after a team workout at its practice facility. “Our rotations felt really good for five straight games. Like really, really good, not just OK. Like really, really good.”

Green, meanwhile, had just three points and missed a three-point attempt with 10 seconds left that could have tied the game.

“Just like any competitor, I wish I’d get that shot back,” he said. “I know that if I’d get that shot back 10 times, I think I’d make at least eight of them.”

The 76ers played with a sense of desperation, not wanting to return home in an 0-2 hole. Philadelphia held Toronto to 17 points in the first quarter and kept the Raptors off balance throughout the game with a strong defensive effort.

“We looked at film and saw how they were doing it,” said Raptors centre Marc Gasol. “We talked about ways to go at it and keeping our spacing and our passing within our system. I’m pretty confident.”

The Raptors were set to travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday ahead of Game 3 at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

“I thought the intensity was there,” Gasol said of Game 2. “We just got a little stagnant offensively and that’s it.”

Jimmy Butler had a strong all-around game for Philadelphia with 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Every time the Raptors tried to make a move, it seemed Butler, Embiid or James Ennis would come up with a big shot.

“We’re going to probably look at many different things and try to attack them on every front,” Green said. “But the biggest key for us is to do what we do — our identity — and that’s play fast-paced basketball.”

It’s possible that Jeremy Lin or Patrick McCaw may come off the bench in Game 3 over Meeks. Regardless of who’s on the floor, the Raptors will need to improve their overall percentages and get more aggressive on the boards.

“We can execute better,” Nurse said. “We can space better. We can pass it out with a little bit more zip on it to get those shots a little bit cleaner maybe. But I think (the Sixers) were playing really hard and really good defence. I give them a lot of credit.”

Game 4 goes in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. The best-of-seven series returns to Toronto on May 7.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s single parents and children at greatest risk of poverty, says report

Yet almost half of local low-income families are people living alone

Graffiti vandals strike Kerry Wood Nature Centre in Red Deer

Cleanup will be tricky at bird sanctuary

Foodgrains project is in the ground

Lacombe County farmers continue to help feed the hungry

Red Deer housing market sales down 6%

The Red Deer housing market remains flat, says a realtor. Alex Wilkinson… Continue reading

Stamp collectors from across Alberta will gather in Red Deer Saturday

Local philatelist wants to restart the Red Deer stamp club

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Gardening: Adding a new dimension with water

A water feature, large or small, adds a whole new dimension to… Continue reading

Alberta throne speech promises changes to expand economy, end carbon tax

EDMONTON — The new Alberta government has set its first legislature sitting… Continue reading

Wider fire bans, off-highway vehicle restrictions in northern Alberta

The fire ban prohibiting campfires and unauthorized burning, and restricting the use… Continue reading

WestJet pilot injured by green laser light while approaching Orlando airport

A WestJet pilot flying from Newfoundland to Orlando International Airport had his… Continue reading

Canada hires firm to ship back garbage, will be done before end of June: McKenna

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the Canadian trash that has… Continue reading

Newfoundland man pleads not guilty in case of skeleton stolen from graveyard

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A young Newfoundland man pleaded not guilty Wednesday… Continue reading

Canadians increasingly worried over boomers’ health bills, survey finds

CHARLOTTETOWN — Canadians are increasingly concerned about how to pay for the… Continue reading

Most Read