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Raptors forced to regroup after chance to close out 76ers falls flat

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PHILADELPHA – Opportunities like this just don’t come around very often.

That’s what was in the air when the Toronto Raptors took the floor at the Wells Fargo Center for Game 6 of their second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Raptors players, coaches, executives – they all knew that stepping on the Sixers when they were down 3-2 would send a signal that Toronto’s mission to advance to the NBA’s brightest stage was a serious one being carried out by serious professionals.

It wasn’t just the chance to close out a high-end opponent without having to go through the torturous stress of a Game 7, but the chance to maximize their chances to do something that comes along more rarely in an NBA players’ career than most think:

The chance to win big; the chance to compete for a title, the chance to win a title, the chance to fight to be an NBA immortal.

And the Raptors blew it, at least for now. At the very least they’ve undoubtedly made their lives riskier, and introduced the prospect of having everything they’ve worked for smashed by bad luck or a strange fluke. That’s what Game 7s are really about.

So that’s the real story around their 112-101 loss to a suddenly energized, confident Sixers club – not just that the Raptors have to prepare for a win-or-go-home game at Scotiabank Arena Sunday, but that they missed the chance to make an already difficult task just a little bit easier.

“You never have these opportunities much and when you have them you have throw it all out there on the line because you never know when that opportunity is going to come back again,” said Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry Thursday morning. “That’s why we’re going........

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