Do you like closely-contested, intense playoff basketball that comes down to the wire and gives a thrilling finish?
Well, tough. We’re fresh out. Can I interest you in a pair of one-sided beatdowns normally reserved for regular-season games against lottery teams instead?
Nothing puts out the flames of an underdog in a seven-game series like losing Game 5, and the Raptors and Nuggets now get a chance to close out on the road before coming home where they’ll be heavily favored in Game 7 if that’s the way this whole show turns out.
We begin in Toronto.
To say the Sixers disappeared on offense is to imply they ever showed up.
After a relatively close first quarter in which the Raptors led 27-26 at the break, the second quarter descended into a colossal smackdown and a 64-43 halftime lead for the men of the North.
From there, it was a straight path to the 125-89 demolition that marked the final score, a 61-46 second half margin showing that the first half was no fluke.
Tobias Harris was minus-34 in 34 minutes, scoring 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. James Ennis III was minus-30 in 23 minutes off the bench (!), scoring just one point and missing all four of his shots while committing four fouls.
Even HERO OF SERBIA couldn’t save the Sixers—Boban Marjanovic had eight points and two rebounds in seven minutes but was nevertheless minus-3, the closest to even that any Sixer managed in the game.
Meanwhile, Toronto used a balanced attack and got exactly what they needed to get in order to keep this series on track now that they’ve gotten home-court advantage back.
Pascal Siakam had 25 points and a game-high plus-35, Kawhi Leonard had 21, Kyle Lowry notched 19, all five Raptors scored in double figures, and the squad shot 16-of-40 (40 percent) from three-point land while winning the turnover battle 19-10.
Oh, and Toronto made 29-of-33 from the line. That’s how you seal the fate of your enemy.
The only thing better than Lowry’s screen on Joel Embiid in this clip is the sweet-as-maple-syrup caption the Raptors’ social media people put on it:
TRUST THIS pic.twitter.com/0tSwgWwiWW
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 8, 2019
Game 6: Thursday (5/9), 8pm/et, ESPN pic.twitter.com/f1M3QydlHg
— NBA (@NBA) May 8, 2019
Chicken Not Found
The Nuggets destroyed the Trail Blazers in Denver 124-98, and like the early game, the big move that effectively sealed the fate of the losing team came in the second after a competitive first quarter.
Denver led 31-25 after one but 65-47 at the halftime break.
They kept up the runaway and grabbed a 93-65 lead after three, and it was time to send in the sanitation trucks because GARBAGE TIME AHOY.
The offense just wasn’t clicking, and that was the killer.
Denver out-rebounded Portland 62-44, hit 28-of-31 free throws, and held the Blazers as a team to a wretched 36.7/27.0/53.3 FG/3PT/FT stat line.
Advanced analysis: Hitting the rim with the ball is not how you score points.
Portland wasted a splendid game of ball control; they had just six turnovers, but then again, Denver only had seven.
The series returns to Portland for Game 6, but the idea that the Blazers will win two games in Denver in a seven-game series means this one is all over but the crying, and nobody’s crying but Blazer fans.
Friends all over know they’re trying to forget about how much Jokic kicked their teeth in:
Game 6: Thursday (5/9), 10:30pm/et, ESPN pic.twitter.com/ZivPv5Zu4Z
— NBA (@NBA) May 8, 2019
Did you know there are two—count ’em, TWO—features from this week just waiting for you to read them? Click your way to the home page and go have a look, huh?
We’ll be back with more tomorrow, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!