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Reeling Raptors sent soul searching after Game 3 loss to 76ers

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PHILADELPHIA – Joel Embiid pumped and then took off. Marc Gasol bit on the ball fake and could only watch as the 7-foot, 300-pound centre then took off down the line like a super-sized Michael Jordan and wind-milled the ball home.

He sprinted back down the floor at Wells-Fargo Center with his arms spread wide like Sixers legend Allen Iverson did so many years ago in sending the Toronto Raptors home heartbroken.

The emphatic slam midway through the fourth quarter was the official stamp on Philly’s blowout win and may have put a stamp on the series. If the Raptors don’t turn the tide it could read: ‘R.I.P.’.

This edition of the Raptors has time to prevent that, but they’re going to have to do a lot to revive themselves after being smothered 116-95 in Game 3 to fall behind 2-1 in their second-round series with Game 4 scheduled in Philadelphia for Sunday.

The Philly kids came home and were more than all right. They were great. They played smart, they played poised and they played fantastic.

The Raptors have more experience, more playoff experience and more championship experience than The Process-driven Philadelphia 76ers may ever get, but with a chance to seize control of the second-round series between two of the Eastern Conference’s highest-powered teams it was the young guns who looked like they’ve done all this before.

The Raptors did too – they just looked liked they have so many times in the franchise’s difficult post-season history: a little over-matched, a little over-whelmed and now entirely under the gun.

The Sixers got big performances on both ends of the court from Embiid and Ben Simmons – crown jewels from Philadelphia’s decision to troll the depths of the draft lottery for seasons on end. It is just their second post-season together but they looked like they’ve been doing this forever.

Embiid emerged from a Gasol-woven cocoon in the first two games to post a line of 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Simmons’ boxscore numbers weren’t as flashy – 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists – but he led the Sixers in minutes again after playing 44 in........

© Sportsnet