In Game 4, Joel Embiid flashed his “airplane” celebration towards the Toronto Raptors.
Game 5 happened to be the opposite.
The fans inside Scotiabank Arena were mimicking the airplane, as Embiid walked off the floor.
The Raptors took flight in Game 5 with their most dominant game of the series. A 125-89 victory over the Sixers set a new franchise playoff record in winning margin.
But more importantly, the Raptors showed they can achieve scoring from the whole team.
“I think tonight was one of those games where we let him [Kawhi] rest a little bit, which is important,” Kyle Lowry said. “He didn’t have to do everything offensively. Those are the things that we need to do as a team to continue to get better.”
Throughout the entire series, the Raptors offense has gone through one player.
The Raptors superstar has carried the team, including a dominant 39-point performance on the road in Game 4 to even the series at two.
A major concern for the Raptors was scoring from the supporting cast. That was not the case in Game 5. 12 of the 13 Raptors who were on the roster scored points, with six achieving double-digit marks.
Pascal Siakam returned with a vengeance, after battling a calf contusion in Game 4. He led the Raptors in scoring with 25 points on 36.8 percent shooting from the field.
The big men duo of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, known for their defense inside, combined for 21 points.
Fred VanVleet held scoreless in Game 4, recorded five points.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 30, 2020
The Raptors three-point shooting was much improved, going 40 percent to the Sixers 25. Danny Green was the major impetus for the success from beyond the arc, leading the Raptors with five three-pointers.
Converting open shots and possessing this diversity of scoring demonstrated the Raptors could win without Kawhi carrying the offensive load.
“We’re a team,” Siakam said. “All year, that’s what we’ve done. Kawhi’s an amazing player, and when there are nights where he’s going the way he’s going, and he’s scoring 40 and shooting fadeaways, and making all those shots, it’s kind of amazing to see.
Defensively, the Raptors were once again in lock-down form. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse made sure Gasol was on Embiid the whole game. It paid dividends as Embiid was held to 13 points.
Pascal Siakam: 25 PTS, 8 REB, 2 STL
Kawhi Leonard: 21 PTS, 13 REB, 4 AST
Kyle Lowry: 19 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST
Danny Green: 17 PTS, 5 3PT, 3 STL
Marc Gasol: 11 PTS, 3 3PT, 5 REB#RapsRewind pic.twitter.com/IzkUbODhSF
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) March 30, 2020
The collective Raptor defense showcased their energy on the glass and clogged the paint with their length. The active feet and hands prevented the Sixers from getting open shots. Outrebounding the Sixers 42 to 37 is impressive, allowing the Raptors to get out in transition to execute the half-court offense.
“They’re being good together,” Lowry said of Gasol and Ibaka. “They’re out on the floor talking Spanish. We don’t understand what they’re saying, but whatever they’re doing, they got to keep it up. But just being big and being athletic and being strong, we need that.”
Game 5 was a“take care of home court” game. With stars like Drake, Mitch Marner and Julius “Dr. J.” Erving in attendance, the Raptors highlighted how good they can be when their offense is firing on all cylinders.
The sky is the limit.