Raptors Steal Back Home Court, Win Gutsy Game 4 to Tie Series at 2-2
It wasn’t pretty and at times it was down right terrifying, but when the dust settled, the Toronto Raptors pulled out a gutsy Game 4 win by a score of 101-96.
On the back of Kawhi Leonard and a hard-nosed defensive effort, the Raptors were able to tie the best of seven series at 2-2, reclaiming home court advantage. The outside shot-making was still questionable as the Raptors made only 10 of their 32 perimeter attempts, half of which were cashed in by Leonard, but it was The Klaw’s big three-pointer over Joel Embiid in crunch time that secured a huge victory for the Raptors.
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) May 5, 2019
“Just seen it with about three seconds left on the clock,” Leonard, who finished the game with 39 points, commented after the Raptors win. “I came off and, you know, he’s long, so I just tried the fadeaway and shoot it over the top of him. Luckily it went down.”
Going into Game 4, the Raptors had to come out as the hungrier team and on a day in which the Raptors needed Kyle Lowry, the All-Star point guard delivered. Setting the tempo early, being more aggressive on both ends of the ball, hitting some big shots in the first quarter, Lowry finished with 14 points, six rebounds and seven rebounds.
Overcoming a hobbled Pascal Siakam’s underwhelming offensive performance, head coach Nick Nurse made the necessary adjustments to allow his team to pull out the win. Tightening the rotation and not being afraid to play big with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka simultaneously, the Raptors did a better job matching up against the Philadelphia 76ers size. The Raptors finished the first half a +3 on the glass and closed out the game at an even 43-to-43 in rebounding.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 5, 2019
As the series now shifts to Toronto, the Raptors have the opportunity to push the Sixers to the brink of elimination. It’s a quick turnaround as there will be only one maintenance day in between Game 4 and Game 5, but that being said, Nurse still has a big decision to make.
While there is no question, the Raptors must be more consistent hitting shots, especially in a pivotal Game 5, and Toronto will surely go big to matchup against the Sixers yet again, Nurse will have to make a call on Fred VanVleet. VanVleet only played seven minutes in today’s game and has scored just four points on 1-for-13 shooting for the series. He is also a -33 in this series and a clear liability whenever Lowry is not on the court. After playing an average of 21 minutes in the first three games of the series, he saw just seven minutes of action in Game 4 and it may be time for Nurse to potential experiment with another option.
There is definitely still some work to be done, but until Tuesday night, Raptors fans can breathe because their squad are back in the driver’s seat ahead of Game 5.