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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Recap from a gritty Game 4 between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers

The Toronto Raptors have regained homecourt advantage in their second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

After losing Games 2 and 3, the Raptors bounced back in Game 4 with a 101-96 victory. Kawhi Leonard led Toronto once again with 39 points, but he got some much-needed help from his teammates this time around, with Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol each scoring in double figures.

While the 76ers got 29 points, 11 rebounds and four assists out of Jimmy Butler, it wasn't enough for them to take a 3-1 series lead.

For more on Game 4, here are some takeaways from an impressive win for the Raptors...

Anyone's game going into the fourth

To give you an idea of how tightly contested Game 4 was, here's the box score through three quarters of play:

Game 3 of Raptors-76ers through three quarters
Team PTS FGM-FGA 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA REB STL AST TO
Raptors 75 28-62 8-27 11-11 33 5 16 9
76ers 75 28-61 9-24 10-13 32 6 20 9

Even the rebounding splits were basically the same, as were the points in the paint, second chance points and points off of turnovers.

It set the stage for a back-and-forth fourth quarter.

Kawhi Leonard in the clutch

The fourth quarter belonged to Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard was responsible for eight of Toronto's 26 points in the period and made the biggest shot of the game. With just over a minute remaining, he hit a tough 3-pointer over Joel Embiid that put the Raptors ahead 94-90.

"Just seen it with about three seconds left on the clock," Leonard said when asked about the shot afterwards. "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."

Tobias Harris missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, forcing the 76ers to foul the Raptors the rest of the way.

Leonard was spectacular in the other three quarters, too. He finished with a game-high 39 points on 13-for-20 shooting from the field, 5-for-7 from 3-point range and 8-for-12 from the free throw line.

Leonard has now scored 30 or more points in six of Toronto's nine games in these playoffs.

Leonard also had a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with five assists in Game 4. The only thing he didn't do particularly well was take care of the ball, as he committed seven turnovers.

Leonard was otherwise incredible.

A tough game for Pascal Siakam

Siakam almost didn't play on Sunday. He was listed as doubtful after Game 3 due to a right calf contusion and was upgraded to a game-time decision a couple of hours before Game 4, with his availability hinging on how he felt in warmups.

After taking the court twice pregame - once to loosen up, the other time to get some shots up - Siakam ultimately started for the Raptors.

He got on the board early by scoring Toronto's first two points of the game after he was fouled on a drive to the basket, but he struggled for the remainder of the first quarter. Not only were those free throws his only points of the period, Siakam missed all six of his field goal attempts.

Joel Embiid once again took on the primary assignment of guarding the Raptors forward and basically abandoned him when he didn't have the ball in his hands to provide help at the basket.

Siakam wasn't able to make Embiid pay for backing way off of him, missing all four of his 3-point attempts. Each of them came from the corner, where he shot 41.6 percent in the regular season.

Siakam didn't do much the rest of the way. He attempted only four more shots and finished with nine points in 28 minutes of play.

Siakam made some plays defensively - he recorded a team-high three steals - but he clearly wasn't himself in Game 3.

Butler stays hot

Jimmy Butler has been the second best player in this series and that continued in Game 4.

Butler did everything he could to keep the 76ers' chances alive in this one. He scored a team-high 29 points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. He was efficient in scoring his 29, going 9-for-18 (50.0%) from the field, 3-for-7 (42.9%) from long range and 8-for-10 (80.0%) from the free throw line.

Five of his 11 boards came on the offensive glass, out-hustling everyone in the gym. He also added four assists and a block to his totals.

With the game tied after three quarters, Butler stepped up in the fourth to try and will the Sixers to victory. He scored 10 of the team's 21 points in the final frame, though he was just 2-for-7 from the field. He grabbed two offensive rebounds, both of which resulted in getting to the free throw line where he went 5-for-6 in the fourth quarter and dished out his team's only two assists in the period.

He's been the motor that has kept the 76ers running through four games. He's averaging 22.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game - his scoring and assists leads Philly while his rebounding average is second behind Embiid.

Joel Embiid's quiet game

Joel Embiid torched the Raptors in Game 3, but he couldn't replicate that performance in Game 4.

It was one of the quieter games Embiid has had this season, though his production was fairly similar to his outing in Game 2 of this series. Embiid went a quiet 2-for-7 from the field for a total of 11 points, his third lowest-scoring total this season.

It was also Embiid's lowest-scoring output of the 16 playoff games he's played in his career.

With the score tied after the third quarter, Embiid had a chance to make up for his absence by stepping up in the fourth. He failed to do so, going 0-for-2 from the field for just three points in the final frame, missing half (3-of-6) of his free throw attempts. He also had two turnovers down the home stretch.

Embiid only grabbed eight rebounds but dished out a team-high seven assists to go with two steals and two blocks to find some sort of way to make an impact. The 76ers outscored the Raptors by 17 points with him on the court - giving Embiid the best +/- of the game - but that doesn't always indicate the type of performance a player has.

Embiid ultimately wasn't attacking the way he did in Game 3 and failed to make a difference on the offensive glass to create extra opportunities for his team.

After the game, 76ers' head coach Brett Brown told the media that Embiid was playing through an illness - that he texted him first thing in the morning, barely slept the night before and wasn't sure if he was going to play at all in Game 4.

Embiid powered through, but the result was a lacklustre performance.

He typically holds himself accountable for these types of games, so be ready for a different Embiid come Game 5.

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