Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and 13 rebounds, Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and the Toronto Raptors used a huge second quarter to rout the Philadelphia 76ers 125-89 Tuesday night and take a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Toronto can advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second time in four seasons with a victory in Game 6 at Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Raptors lost in six games to Cleveland in the East finals in 2016.
If the 76ers can extend the series to a seventh game, it would be played in Toronto on Sunday night.
Leonard, who had scored 33 or more points in each of the first four games of the series, shot 7 for 16 from the field and 7 for 8 at the line before checking out with 7:22 to play and Toronto up 103-73.
Kyle Lowry scored 19 points, while Danny Green shot 5 for 7 from 3-point range and finished with 17 points. Marc Gasol scored 11 points and Serge Ibaka had 10.
Up by one after the first, the Raptors outscored the 76ers 37-17 in the second quarter to take a 21-point lead, 64-43,at halftime.
Ahead 92-70 at the start of the final quarter, Toronto extended its lead to a game-high 40 points on a dunk by Normal Powell with 2:24 remaining.
The Raptors shot 16 for 40 from 3-point range, their 3-pointers made in the series.
Jimmy Butler scored 22 points and Tobias Harris had 15 for the 76ers, who have lost two straight after winning the previous two.
Joel Embiid scored 13 points and had eight turnovers. Embiid started despite missing the morning shootaround because of flu-like symptoms. He also battled illness in Games 2 and 4.
Sixers guard Ben Simmons shot 3 for 5 and finished with seven points, seven rebounds, and five turnovers.
Siakam scored nine points in the first and Lowry had eight as Toronto led 27-26 after one. Leonard had seven rebounds and five points in the first.
Ibaka needed three stitches to close a cut on his forehead after he was inadvertently elbowed by Leonard in the opening quarter. Ibaka returned to start the second and, despite a visible bump on his head, soon scored his first points by blowing past Embiid for a dunk.
Green scored nine points in the second, making three of Toronto’s four 3-pointers. Toronto shot 12 for 21 in the second while Philadelphia shot 6 for 20.
Leonard, who missed six of his first eight shots, punctuated Toronto’s decisive second quarter with a powerful one-handed slam, driving into the paint from near center court and splitting a pair of defenders to throw it down with 2.6 seconds left. Leonard had 13 points and 10 rebounds at halftime.
Philadelphia’s Simmons didn’t score his first points until a three-point play with 5:34 left in the first and his team trailing 44-32. The Sixers had more fouls in the first half (16) than field goals (14).
Denver 124, Portland 98
Nikola Jokic scored 25 points and tied a team playoff high with 19 rebounds, and Paul Millsap injected some experience into a series dominated by youth, sparking the Nuggets’ 124-98 blowout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night that gave Denver a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Nuggets can secure their first trip to the Western Conference Finals in a decade with a win in Game 6 on Thursday night in Portland.
Millsap scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half of the first lopsided game in a series that was so evenly matched coming in that Denver held a cumulative scoring advantage of 464-462.
The Nuggets never trailed and stretched a six-point lead after one quarter to 18 at the half and 28 heading into the fourth quarter. They led by as many as 31 before a parade of backups gave the starters some much-needed breathers.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 22 points but again struggled from the arc, going 2 of 9 on 3-pointers.
Coming off a resounding Game 4 win that followed that epic quadruple-overtime loss, the Nuggets were focused and efficient just as coach Michael Malone promised when he said Denver wouldn’t dare let up and exhale at home after reclaiming the home-court advantage.
Millsap came out hot, scoring a dozen points in the first quarter. Just before halftime, he gathered a behind-the-back pass from Jamal Murray (18 points) and swished a 3-pointer while being knocked to the floor by Rodney Hood.
His subsequent free throw gave him a four-point play and 19 first-half points as the Nuggets took a 20-point lead. Lillard, who had 18 points at the break, scored an uncontested basket just before the end of the half to pull the Trail Blazers to 65-47 heading into the locker room.
Whatever adjustments Blazers coach Terry Stotts tried to make at the half didn’t take as the Nuggets outscored Portland 28-18 in the third quarter, and before long, the Blazers were thinking more about salvaging Game 6 and hoping to regroup for a return trip to Denver in hopes of a different outcome.