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NBA Playoffs: Raptors overpower the 76ers, take a 3-2 lead in series

Siakam leads Toronto side; Jokic, Millsap crush Trail Blazers

The Toronto Raptors dismantled the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets dominated Portland on Tuesday to take commanding leads in their playoff series.

The Raptors overpowered the 76ers 125-89 to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series.

With 76ers star center Joel Embiid ailing, Toronto took full advantage on their home floor and can book a place in the Eastern Conference finals with a victory in game six in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The Nuggets, led by Nikola Jokic’s 25 points and 19 rebounds, defeated the Trail Blazers 124-98 for a 3-2 series lead and will also try to wrap up their Western Conference clash on the road on Thursday.

Six Nuggets players scored in double figures and four scored at least 16 points.

Paul Millsap scored 12 of his 24 in the first quarter as Denver bolted to a 31-25 lead.

Jamal Murray scored 11 of his 18 in the second quarter, helping Denver break open the game with a burst of three straight baskets that pushed the Nuggets’ lead to 61-43 and Denver, who never trailed, were away.

Damian Lillard scored 22 points for the Trail Blazers, who face an elimination game for the first time in this post-season.

Rodney Hood and Zach Collins scored 14 points each off the bench, but C.J. McCollum was the only other Portland starter in double figures with 12 points.

Embiid struggles

In Toronto’s big win, forward Pascal Siakam scored 25 points to lead six Raptors players in double figures.

Star forward Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and was able to rest the majority of the fourth quarter as the Raptors dominated every phase of the contest.

The outcome was enough to make Philadelphia’s centre Embiid feel even worse than the upper respiratory infection that appeared to hinder him.

Embiid scored 13 points with six rebounds and also coughed up a game-high eight turnovers.

The results: (best-of-seven):

Eastern Conference: Toronto Raptors 125 (Pascal Siakam 25, Kawhi Leonard 21, Kyle Lowry 19) bt Philadelphia 76ers 89 (Jimmy Butler 22, Tobias Harris 15, Joel Embiid 13). Raptors lead 3-2.

Western Conference: Denver Nuggets 124 (Nikola Jokic 25, Paul Millsap 24, Jamal Murray 18) bt Portland Trail Blazers 98 (Damian Lillard 22, Rodney Hood 14, Zach Collins 14). Nuggets lead series 3-2.

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