SIXERS JOJO HELD TO 20 PTS, 11 BOARDS — I GOT TO BE BETTER!

By Tommy Matthews

The Sixers had just been embarrassed by the Raps in game 5, 103-88, and it wasn’t even that close!

So leave to the Sixers philosopher king, 28-year-old Joel Embiid, to put it into some perspective:

“We’re fine,” Embiid said after finishing with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists in 39 minutes as the Raps cut the Sixers series lead to 3-2.

“I mean, it’s the same recipe. Don’t turn the ball over, offensive rebound. We’ve definitely got to be better defensively, more connected. Defensively, I felt like there [were] a few plays where we were not on point and we didn’t have each others’ backs.

“But we’re fine. There’s a reason we won three games in a row. Offensively, we clearly have

The Sixers were so outplayed that they led for only 21 seconds — when James Harden buried a midrange jumper to open the scoring 18 seconds into the game, to when Raptors forward OG Anunoby made a long 2-point jumper. The Raptors scored the next five points and never looked back, opening a lead they would never relinquish after a tight first quarter by scoring the first 12 points of the second quarter.

“They got everything they wanted,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said, “and not only did they get it, they used 23 seconds dang near every possession. They turned the game into a slow-paced slugfest but whenever they could run they did run. So they got both, like they beat us in transition, when they didn’t have transition they backed it out, used the clock, got the iso they wanted and scored on us.

Embiid, meanwhile, said it was on Harden to be more aggressive offensively — something he’s said repeatedly since Harden was acquired for Ben Simmons at the NBA trade deadline — and that it’s up to Rivers to make that happen.

“I’ve been saying all season since he got here, he needs to be aggressive and he needs to be himself,” Embiid said. “That’s not really my job. That’s probably on Coach to talk to him and tell him to take more shots, especially if they’re going to guard me the way they’ve been guarding. But that’s really not my job.

“But we all need to be better offensively. We missed a bunch of wide-open shots. At times, I just felt like we just invited, when I was getting doubled, we were not aggressive attacking the ball. We just kept moving the ball around the perimeter, and that gave them time to recover, and that’s why were not able to get anything out of it.

“So if that’s what they want to keep doing, we’ve got to take advantage of it.”

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