PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 25: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives against Khem Birch #24 of the Toronto Raptors in the first quarter during Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round at Wells Fargo Center on April 25, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

By Dylan MacKinnon

Just a few days ago the Sixers were walking on air. They had just taken a 3-0 in the series. Embiid hit one of the greatest shots in recent Sixers history to clinch the game 3 win. The mood around the Sixers was higher than it had been in a long time. And then the bad news started rolling in. First, it was Embiid having a torn ligament in his right thumb. Then the Sixers dropped game 4. And now, the Sixers will have to play a game 6 after the Sixers’ lackluster performance tonight.

It was a very poor effort from the Sixers all night, but especially in the second quarter. After cutting the lead to just two after one, it ended up being a 14pt deficit going into halftime. The Sixers didn’t score in either the first five minutes or the final 3 minutes of the quarter. They shot just 5-22 in the frame, with 3 of those 5 makes coming via Danny Green 3pters.

They technically won the 3rd quarter, outscoring the Raptors 25-21, but it did not feel like it. Everyone outside Embiid, Harris, and Green continued to shoot poorly. The Sixers were 0-14 from 3 when anyone other than Harris or Green took one at the end of the 3rd. Even though they cut into the lead, it did not feel as though they were building any momentum. Several times they would cut it to a single-digit lead, just to immediately let the Raptors push it back to double digits.

And in the 4th it kept unraveling. Even with Harden finally finding his 3pt stroke they saw the Raptors’ lead growing. It grew to 14 before the Sixers threw in the towel and put the bench in.

Harden was 4-11 on the night, but two of those makes came with the game already out of hand. He finished the game with more turnovers than made baskets. Embiid finished with just 20 after scoring 10 in the first quarter. It felt like he was having his way inside early, but then they struggled to get any good shots inside the rest of the game. Maxey was held to 12 pts, on 5-14 shooting. The Sixers kept waiting for someone to step up, and no one ever did.

In a game at home, where they had a chance to clinch the series, they were held to under 90pts. They shot just 38% from the floor, and 27% from 3. It was another heavy turnover night, coughing it up 16 times. The Raptors scored 24pts off of those turns. They were outrebounded, out hustled, and outplayed. The Raptors played better at almost every facet of the game.

The Sixers will now face a game 6 in Toronto on Thursday night. A loss there would force a do-or-die game 7 back in Philly Saturday night. This was a team they had on the ropes. The narrative after the dramatic ending in game 3 was if the Raptors would even have any fight left. But over the last two games, it is the Sixers who seem to not have any fight left. Whatever is wrong, they have a couple of days to fix it. Another lackluster performance like this, and they could be on notice for being the first team to blow a 3-0 lead in the NBA.