The Philadelphia 76ers entered Game 6 with their backs against the wall, and they certainly responded accordingly.
After being dominated 125-89 in a Game 5 loss to the Toronto Raptors and trailing the series 3-2, the Sixers came out of the gate strong on Thursday night and led throughout the duration of the contest as they cruised to a 112-101 win.
As a team, the 76ers were very balanced with production from up and down their lineup. Jimmy Butler was very aggressive in the early going and led the Sixers with 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
In addition, Ben Simmons rebounded after a less-than-stellar showing with 21 points on a remarkably efficient 9-of-13 shooting performance while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out six assists. Philadelphia had six different players finish in double figures in the season-extending win.
For Toronto, Kawhi Leonard continued to carry the offensive attack with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Pascal Siakam added 21 points of his own, but no other Raptor scored more than 13 points in the loss. As a team, the Raptors shot just 44.3 percent from the field and the Sixers really made life difficult for them throughout the night.
The Sixers will certainly need to continue this kind of play in Game 7 on Sunday in order to complete the comeback in the series.
Here are a few takeaways from the 76ers’ much-needed Game 6 win:
Simmons bounces back with aggressive showing
In Game 5, Ben Simmons didn’t struggle by definition, but didn’t exactly light the world on fire from an offensive perspective. He scored just seven points on 3-of-5 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and four assists, while also committing five turnovers.
Simmons bounced back in a big way on Thursday night with 21 points — his highest scoring output of the series — on a very efficient 9-of-13 shooting in addition to securing eight rebounds and dishing out six assists. The former Rookie of the Year was his usual aggressive self and didn’t commit a single turnover in Game 6. He was also very active around the basket as he tipped home multiple shots and deposited a outback slam.
If the Sixers want to win Game 7, they’re going to need a similar performance from Simmons.
Short bench produces
Aside from garbage time, the Sixers rode a very short bench of James Ennis III and Mike Scott. The duo ended up logging 46 minutes between the two of them. Both were extremely productive, but Scott really helped Philadelphia’s perimeter offense with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Three of Scott’s successful attempts came from beyond the arc.
Ennis also continued to play a pivotal role on the defensive end. The veteran swingman finished with just five points, but secured eight rebounds and dished out three assists. He also recorded a steal and a block and was extremely active. Ennis certainly gave the Raptors issues as they only shot 44.3 percent from the floor on the night.
Philadelphia’s bench really received a huge lift when Ennis and Scott came over at the trade deadline. If the Sixers get similar production in Game 7, it certainly would bode well for the team’s chances of coming out on the winning end in this series.
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Source: CBS Sports