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Joel Embiid explains how he was able to dominate Game 3 vs. Raptors

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TORONTO–It’s the NBA Playoffs. Things are not supposed to be easy during this time, especially on the road against a desperate basketball team.

The Philadelphia 76ers ran into some trouble early in Game 3 on Wednesday as the Toronto Raptors built a 17-point lead and they led by 10 at halftime. Their scramble defense forced the Sixers into 15 first-half turnovers and they held Joel Embiid to just five points and he committed four turnovers in the opening 24 minutes.

It was shades of 2019 all over again at Scotiabank Arena as Embiid continued to have trouble in the building. However, the big fella came back with a vengeance after halftime scoring 28 points, including the game-winning triple in overtime, and he put some Toronto demons to rest in the win.

“I think everybody was asking him the same thing, like, ‘What’re you waiting for’? I think he had, like, five points in the first half,” said Tyrese Maxey. “Like, Joel, we need you. He said ‘Alright, I got you’ and that’s what he does. MVP for a reason, man. I’m just gonna keep saying it. He dominated the game, he dominated the defensive boards, blocked shots, he was big.”

In the first half, Embiid went to the post every time down on offense and that made it easier for the Raptors to send their defenders toward him. In the second half, he didn’t give them much of a chance to do so.

“Just being decisive,” said Embiid. “Every single time I put the ball, they were coming. In the first half, they did it, in the second half, they tried to do it. I knew that all I had was really one dribble and I had to make a play whether it was for myself or for my teammates to get the shot off. That was really my mindset coming out of halftime aggressive, but at the same time, be decisive about what I’m doing on the floor.”

That was clearly the talk at halftime as the Sixers told the big fella to just be quick and not wait for the Raptors to come at him.

“I thought we had him deep four or five times in the first half and he was trying to get into his move and when you get the ball in the paint, there’s no more move,” said coach Doc Rivers. “It’s just go be aggressive and big and we talked about that at halftime just go be aggressive. Quick decisions, quick moves, then if they reach, it’s a foul, but if you wanna try to dance in the paint, they’re gonna be able to reach and I thought he made the adjustment.”

The fact that Embiid only had five points, yet Philadelphia was only down 10 at the half speaks volumes about how far the team has come and how they have grown. He was then able to do the rest.

“That’s why we have a complete team,” said James Harden. “That’s why we have guys to help each other. We all wanna play great every quarter, every possession, but it’s not possible. He didn’t have a great half scoring-wise, but I think defensively, he did some really good things. We just kept fighting and kept chipping away, chipping away, and in that third quarter, we stepped it up, and we gave ourselves a chance to win.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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