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Ben Simmons appears to elbow Kyle Lowry in groin during National Basketball Association playoffs

Ben Simmons appears to elbow Kyle Lowry in groin during National Basketball Association playoffs

The Philadelphia 76ers carried the momentum from their Game 2 win against the Toronto Raptors back to Philadelphia, where they put on an absolute clinic on both ends of the court to take Game 3 on Thursday, 116-95.

Lowry had nine points and eight assists, while Marc Gasol chipped in with eight points and did a solid job containing Sixers centre Joel Embiid. The Sixers were the ones that came out on top, however, and Leonard had a lot of praise for Embiid. Watching the way Leonard controlled play in Game 1 on Saturday night - 45 points and 11 rebounds on 16-for-23 shooting - perhaps he regretted whatever role he played in the 2014 NBA Finals MVP's formative pro years.

A big basket by Embiid gave the 76ers a three-point lead, and Green - who was 1-for-6 from the three-point line on the night - missed on a three-point attempt with about five seconds to play and it was game over. "I was breaking down how we were going to guard him - how you try to limit someone like Ben Simmons", Dudley said. But if the Raptors want to even this series with Philadelphia, they're going to need Lowry to play far better in his hometown in Game 4 on Sunday than he did in Thursday's dud. Not only did they take a 2-1 lead over Toronto, but with a 21 point margin of victory in Game 3, the Sixers put out a statement to the rest of the league.

Coach Brett Brown agrees with that sentiment with a resounding: "Yes".

Kawhi Leonard let out a deep sigh and rubbed his eyes before facing the press after the Toronto Raptors embarrassed themselves in Game 3.

There's much more for the 76ers to be fretting over than just Leonard.

Hockey player PK Subban and skier Lindsey Vonn sat together in courtside seats opposite the Toronto bench.




"We had to go out and blitz him". But after that? You could argue that four of Philly's five starters are better than Toronto's second-best player, Pascal Siakam, and that is showing more than ever. Meanwhile, Pascal Siakim managed to score 20 points for the Raptors. "When I have fun, my game just changes. I think that it's a launching pad", Brown said pre-game. "I keep saying when Kawhi and Kyle are playing as hard as they can play, everybody that steps on the floor probably is willing to play hard, too". Lowry, who finished with seven points on 2-for-10 shooting and was a game-worst minus-28 in 38 minutes, declared that the Raptors have to help Leonard out - him especially.

"That's normally the case from the team that goes down 0-1 or loses the last game", Nurse said pre-game.

It was moments like this why the 76ers endured the painful Process - the years of tanking seasons for high draft picks, like in 2014 when they drafted Embiid with the No. 3 overall pick.

The conventional wisdom, through the series' first three games, has been very wrong. It's the kind of roster management that could have blown up in Nurse's face - and still could - but in Game 1 against the 76ers, Ibaka had some big blocks in the second half and the coach left him out there to close the game.

Embiid struck a chord when he buried a 3 in the third that stretched Philadelphia's lead to 12.

"I mean, for me it goes straight to the blocks", Brown said when asked what stood out about Embiid's night. Embiid buried a three and followed with a sweet spin move on Gasol the next time down that got the Sixers rolling. Embiid scored 18 points in the half and pushed the Sixers to a 64-53 lead at the break.

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