Facing a 3-1 series deficit after winning Game 3 at home, the Toronto Raptors absolutely handed it to the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night.
Even without Fred VanVleet (hip), Toronto won by the score of 103-88 inside Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. A balanced scoring attack that saw five players go for double-digits and a dominating performance from the bench made the difference here for Nick Nurse’s squad.
As for the 76ers, it was an absolutely disastrous performance from the get. James Harden was downright terrible throughout the game. The team’s bench did nothing of substance until head coach Doc Rivers cleared out said bench when the game was out of hand.
In the end, Toronto came through with its second consecutive win to force a Game 6 in Toronto Thursday evening. Here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers from the Toronto Raptors Game 5 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Winner: Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes overcomes ankle injury to play great game
The 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year suffered an ugly looking ankle injury in Game 1 of this series and missed the next two outings. Barnes returned to action Saturday in Game 3. However, it was pretty apparent that he wasn’t anywhere near 100%. In fact, it sure looked like Barnes’ sensational rookie season came to an end when he seemingly aggravated said injury in his return to action.
Fast forward two days, and Barnes was back to playing the tremendous all-around game that had defined his regular season. The Florida State product played great defense against multiple 76ers players and came through big time on offense. In the end, he scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out four assists and coming up with three steals. Barnes also finished plus-13 in 41 minutes with his team’s season on the line. This kid is a star in the making.
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Loser: Matisse Thybulle and Philadelphia 76ers’ bench
A lot was made of this All-NBA Defensive Team performer missing both games in Toronto due to Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. On the court, it left the 76ers’ bench short-handed. That was especially true in Game 3’s loss to the Raptors on Saturday.
Thybulle returned to the mix in Game 4, scoring all of two points on 1-of-6 shooting. He missed on both of his three-point attempts and committed three fouls in just 14 minutes. It was a representation of just how poorly Philadelphia’s bench played in this one. Combined, it shot 4-of-15 from the field while finishing minus-15. The NBA Playoffs might be defined by star power, but teams still need to have a bench capable of picking up the slack. It’s that simple.
Winner: Precious Achiuwa and Toronto Raptors’ depth shows
On the other end of the spectrum, Toronto’s bench showed out big time. It’s especially surprising given that VanVleet had to miss this game. It also starts with former Miami Heat first-round pick Precious Achiuwa who acted as a centerpiece in the Kyle Lowry deal last summer.
- Precious Achiuwa stats (Game 5): 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks 7-of-11 shooting
The forward also finished plus-10 in 27 minutes of action. A game that saw the Raptors hit on just 26% of their three-point shots included stellar defense from the team. That included Barnes, Achiuwa, Thaddeus Young and OG Anunoby. While Pascal Siakam is seen as the star of this team, these role players stepped up big time to force Game 6.
Loser: James Harden lays another egg for the Philadelphia 76ers
While a lot has been made about the Ben Simmons’ situation in Brooklyn, there’s continued questions about Harden’s ability to make a huge impact for the 76ers following the blockbuster February 10th trade.
Harden, 32, entered Monday’s outing aveaging 19.3 points on a mee 38% shooting from the field through the first four games of this playoff series. He responded by putting up an absolutely brutal performance.
The former NBA MVP shot 4-of-11 from the field while committing five turnovers. He had only six free-throw attempts and seemingly spotted up out on the perimeter throughout the game. In the end, Philadelphia finished minus-10 in Harden’s 40 minutes of action. He must step it up in Toronto Thursday evening if the 76ers are going to avoid this heading to Game 7.