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Leonard's co-stars step up as Raptors outshine 76ers in Game 5

2 16 0
08.05.2019

TORONTO – If a Kawhi Leonard mid-range jumper didn’t fall in a forest of NBA players would the Toronto Raptors even exist as a post-season threat?

It was an interesting question the club faced as they got ready for Game 5 of their second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, but purely hypothetical.

As if Leonard would ever miss a mid-range jumper, or any other kind? Jokes.

But it was worth contemplating because the list of NBA players who had averaged at least 32 points in a post-season while carrying a true shooting percentage of 70.4 or better, as Leonard was through the first nine games of the Raptors’ playoff run, was a short one.

In fact, Leonard was the only one on it. So either he was about to go where no one had gone before – and let’s not rule that out just yet – or Toronto was going to have to be prepared for Leonard looking only awesome as compared with immortal one of these nights

What would happen to the Raptors then?

Well shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday night, the Raptors – and maybe the Sixers – had the answer. Leonard played well, but not historically well – it’s pretty telling when 21 points on 16 shots to go along with 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals and no turnovers in 36 minutes is only your ninth best game out of 10 during the Raptors’ playoff run – and Toronto was still able to turn in one of its most convincing wins in its history, a 125-89 pasting of a Sixers team that was out-worked, out-smarted and out-played.

The Raptors will have the chance to advance to the conference finals for just the second time in franchise history with a win in Game 6 on Thursday night in Philadelphia.

For what it’s worth, Joel Embiid told Drake the Sixers would be back for Game 7 on Sunday, but let’s see if his cold medicine kicks in first as he threatened to call in sick for the third time in five games.

Meanwhile, the Kawhi show had co-stars. Kyle Lowry had 19 points and five assists and had the gas down all night, sprinting the ball in transition and picking the Raptors’ pace to the tune of 38 fast-break points. Pascal Siakam shook........

© Sportsnet