The Philadelphia 76ers were embarrassed in Game 1 of their second-round series with the Toronto Raptors, but they came ready to play on Monday night in Game 2 as they evened the series at 1-all with a 94-89 victory.
Despite the second-seeded Raptors trailing for the last 46 minutes of the game, the result of Game 2 came down to a Danny Green missed 3-point attempt with nine seconds remaining with the Raptors trailing 92-89. Tobias Harris went on to nail two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining to preserve the victory for the Sixers.
The 76ers came out with a much-improved effort on the defensive end, which helped them get out to a big lead early on. In addition, they got a big boost off the bench from James Ennis and Greg Monroe, who combined for 18 points in the opening 24 minutes of action. Jimmy Butler finished the night with a huge double-double for 30 points and 11 rebounds. Their star also came up big in the fourth to help his team survive Toronto's last push.
Here are three takeaways from the 76ers' Game 2 win over the Raptors:
Sixers beat Raptors with their bench
No, you read that right. The Sixers, who have one of the weakest bench units among all playoff teams, beat the Raptors -- who have one of the strongest bench units in the entire NBA -- with their second unit. Greg Monroe and James Ennis were the stars of the first half, scoring 18 combined points in the first 24 minutes of action to give Philadelphia a 51-38 lead at halftime.
For the entirety of the game, the Sixers' bench outscored the Raptors' second unit 26-5. Obviously, that ended up being the major difference in Game 2.
Butler propels Philly to victory
Game 2 featured some pretty bad 3-point shooting from both sides. The Sixers combined for just 10-of-35 shooting from beyond the arc (28.6 percent) while the Raptors shot even worse (10-of-37 for 27.0 percent). While Jimmy Butler didn't shoot much better from 3 overall, he did connect on four from downtown, including a clutch 3 late in the fourth to help Philly survive.
The defensive-minded, grind-it-out swingman scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to offset Kawhi Leonard's 35-point effort.
Butler is far from being flashy, but he's the perfect player to lead your team in defensive-minded games.
Kawhi received very little support from his teammates
While Leonard finished the game with 35 points on a very effective 13 of 24 from the field to go along with seven rebounds and six assists, he received no help from his teammates. Pascal Siakam, who scored 29 points in the Game 1 victory and came in averaging 23.7 points per game in the postseason, scored just seven points in the opening half and finished the game converting on just nine of his 25 field-goal attempts.
Kyle Lowry was effective with 20 points and five assists, but outside of the aforementioned trio, the Raptors scored a combined 13 points on 4-of-25 shooting (16.0 percent).
That is simply dreadful and it's one of several reasons why the Raptors lost Game 2 in convincing fashion -- despite what the final score indicates.
No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers
How to watch Game 3
- Date: Thursday, May 2
- Time: 8 p.m.
- Location: Wells Fargo Center -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- TV channel: ESPN
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Online streaming: fuboTV (try it for free)
- Odds: N/A
All games will air on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV during the postseason. Games on TNT and NBA TV can be streamed via fuboTV (try it for free).
Odds and Analysis
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Game 2 storylines
76ers: Philly had no answer for Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of its best-of-seven series against Toronto. Even more troubling for Brett Brown's 76ers was Joel Embiid being totally ineffective against Marc Gasol and the rest of the Raptors' front line. If this doesn't change in a big way in Game 2, then Philadelphia could be in a great deal of trouble.
Raptors: Things really could not have gone better for the Raptors in Game 1. Leonard was unstoppable. Siakam continued his breakout season in an eye-opening way and Gasol helped keep Embiid in check, yet again. Nick Nurse would love to bottle up this performance and save it for Game 2 because this was as good of a win as the Raptors could have asked for.
Game 2 prediction, pick
Entering this series, there were plenty of questions concerning how the Sixers would fare against the Raptors given the fact that the two sides had not met since the trade deadline when Philadelphia acquired Tobias Harris. Given what we saw in Game 1, it is hard to bet against the Raptors on their home floor at this point in time so take the home team to cover on Monday night.