Toronto – chess match on.
How convincing Predators made it clear that they were the best team in their series opener against the Philadelphia 76ers, there was no chance that they're going to come out of Game 2 of their second-round series at Scotiabank Arena, not having to survive the attack on the notorious Queen.
The Sixers are not going to be king, to be overturned without immersion in a ploy bag protection and calculated adventures designed to make the Predator less comfortably, at least.
Here's how playoff basketball. If the regular season of high rates of checkers played while the blunt of the jump on the time zones and lineups that change every night, post-season brings rest, the sequence and timing for each of the coaching staff to cycle through the options and consequences, as if they "again grandmasters team plays Deep Blue at IBM.
He believed that Kauai Leonard is the focus of big moves the Sixers, given the way he went to a legend (a car & # 39; EPA playoff height of 45 points) vs. Philadelphia in Game 1. But Leonard can be fooled at this stage? And if the team is going to overcommit, so slow it was going to be left open?
Answer: No, not really. Leonard does not disappoint, and maybe it can not be stopped. The Sixers decided to cover the star of birds of prey with their athletic 6-foot-10 play Ben Simmons on the basis of its relative success in Game 1. It does not really matter, though Leonard really had to work for him 35 points, seven rebounds and six assists. The performance gave him a playoff record of two games Raptors 90 points.
But there was a lot going on blasting solutions for Leonard and 76ers Jimmy Butler, their version of the All-NBA as a closer.
It was an ugly game, right from 1995 – minus flagrant fouls – with clever, well thought-out defense of the grinding time and time again the crime.
But to gain time, the 76ers scored just enough as they blunted the return of birds of prey from down 11 with 5:19 left in the fourth and down 19 times before the break. It was Butler, who dragged the ball past Leonard and predators on the 94-89 victory, he killed eight of his Sixers-high 30 points the last three minutes to contain Leonard, who killed nine of his game high in fourth overall.
"It was James Butler," said Sixers head coach Brett Brown. "He was an adult at the gym."
Butler said: "My name is James. Literally, it's Jimmy. "
As we have said, the guy could not miss down the stretch.
Predators could not make a significant three-pointer for most of the game until Pascal Siakam not hit one, and Kyle Lowry struck out two in the final 2:41, eventually reduce the Sixers lead to one of 46.7 seconds to go. But a couple of misses wide with a deep usually reliable Danny Green – the last 10 seconds before the end to a perfect kickout Leonard – prevented Predators forced overtime.
This was one of the night scene, as predators removed unfortunate 10-of-37 from the bottom, even after Late excitement. They gave themselves a chance, because even if their crimes remained dry their stalwart defense, holding Philadelphia to 39.5 percent shooting, although the Sixers returned the favor by limiting Toronto to 36.3 percent.
"It was a fist fight, grind, the whole game," Brown said.
Fighting Raptors were largely due to the strategic steps taken Philadelphia, who was desperate to go home for Game 3 on Thursday with a split in the series.
Predators know adjustments arrived. The question was, when they were going to make the first move or to follow what worked in Game 1 and wait for the Sixers did not show his hand.
The Sixers entirely idle. Straight out of the gate, they have changed their defensive matches as cover Leonard Simmons, which destroyed both Butler and Harris in Game 1, but could tolerate, 4-of-9 (with Philly point of view) against the fast hands and feet Simmons.
In addition, they decided to cover Siakam colleagues Cameroonian Joel Embiid. While being 7-foot, 300-pound Embiid at 6-9 Siakam slippery may seem strange at first glance, the logic is clear: under no circumstances was Siakam going to get an easy view of the rim or in the paint he was when we were 12-of-15 in the series opener. And if it meant surrendering odd wide open three to Siakam, so be it.
It paid off as Siakam was 2-for-7 from the middle of the night, even though he will come to life in the fourth of seven and 21 points in the last five minutes.
"Obviously, it was difficult for us to handle just by looking at the numbers," said Raptors coach Nick Nurse. "I think Pascal was a low percentage shooting today, many of those who tried to take over Embiid on the rim and use triples that were open … so, yes, obviously, it was difficult for us."
He also put some accessories on the hook: With Gasol covered mostly smaller Harris Predators will be tempted to start to go to great Spaniards in the post? It would be obvious to play basketball, but as an alien Predators played the entire season.
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Predators finally started using Gasol on the block at the start of the third quarter in relation to some inconsistencies and get some activity on the incisors after the Philadelphia sent help. But a big problem if Gasol will remain open at the top of the circle, Philadelphia focuses on Leonardo and Siakam it will have to seek out and take more pictures: Him going 1-to-6 in 35 minutes, when the 76ers daring to kill him, probably It will not cut it.
At the same time, clearly bothered Siakam Embiid, which loomed like a cliff every time Siakam tried to kill around the basket – his bread and butter. The exception was a fantastic jolt and pastry course, which ends in the left arm over the back Embiid, who impressed the crowd Scotiabank Arena in the first quarter for a good reason. But mostly, the strategy was to leave Siakam largely unguarded on the perimeter and the Raptors second leading scorer in the playoffs could not make them pay. After 19 minutes in the first half, Siakam was 3-of-11 from the floor and 0-to-2 of the three.
Embiid was game time decision after a bout of intestinal distress. He has taken the liquid with the solution until the IV had no time to warm up.
"If you had a s–, before you know how it feels," he laughed. He finished with only 12 points on 2-of-7 shooting, but scored a fine spinning layup at the last minute to help seal the victory. "But these are my guys, and I want to show every night and play hard."
The Sixers not only played hard, they played smart. They have made life more difficult for Siakam and Leonard, and they did so, not to burn the likes of Green or Gasol and were able to save a critical split in the road.
Predators did not do himself any services. They were divided on the glass, as the Sixers held a 53-36 rebounding side and there was a lot of mental mistakes – three times Ibague bit on the pump forgery Embiid hopping on shots. Lowry lost Sharp-Shooter J.J. Reddick on weakside, abandoning the open three, and norms Powell fell again. To add insult to injury, the Sixers bench – is considered a blatant weak point – badly outplayed his counterpart of birds of prey, with 10 points Former Raptor Greg Monroe in the first half of doubling that submarines in Toronto can offer.
But it started with some sensible coaching.
"It was a good tuning them. It was a game plan adjustments them, "said Lowry. "But they came out more aggressive than us. We did not come out aggressively. We are not out of the super sense of urgency. We did not play well today, and they did. The game is very desperate and very hard, and they won.
The Sixers put the predator at bay, and now home decided to take control of the board and the series.
This movement is Toronto.