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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Four things to watch in Game 6 between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers

The Toronto Raptors are now one win away from their second ever trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

With a 125-89 victory in Game 5, the Raptors took a 3-2 lead in their series with the Philadelphia 76ers. Pascal Siakam led the way with 25 points, but it took a team effort to take the 76ers down with Kawhi Leonard scoring 21 points and Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol each scoring in double figures.

The 76ers, meanwhile, had only four players score in double figures led by 22 points from Jimmy Butler.

MORE: Takeaways from a dominant Raptors win

Before the Raptors look to close the series out in Philadelphia on Thursday, here are four things to watch in Game 6...

Kawhi Leonard's passing

Leonard finished Game 5 with four assists, but he could have had a lot more.

According to NBA.com, Leonard had 14 potential assists in the win, meaning there were 14 times a teammate took a shot within one dribble of receiving a pass from him.

That is his highest total yet in these playoffs, although he's had 13 potential assists twice already in this series.

A lot of the passes Leonard made in Game 5 set up his teammates for wide open looks from the 3-point line. The 76ers have been much more aggressive about doubling him since his 45-point outburst in Game 1, which has opened up more opportunities for him to drive and kick.

Just look at how much attention Leonard draws on this possession in semi-transition, for example:

Leonard has the attention of all five players on the 76ers and gets Joel Embiid to commit to the double by driving to the basket. He then sees Ben Simmons drop baseline to prevent Siakam from getting the ball in the corner and responds perfectly by rifling a pass to Green on the wing for an uncontested 3-pointer.

Green knocked it down - one of Leonard's four assists on the night - but there were a number of times in which the Raptors were unable to reward him for making the extra pass.

While Leonard came back down to earth as a scorer in Game 5 - the only time he's shot worse in these playoffs was Game 3 against the Orlando Magic when he was battling flu-like symptoms - the Raptors still scored at a rate of 117.3 points per 100 possessions with him on the court.

It goes to show how Leonard's value on the offensive end extends far beyond his scoring.

The other Raptors

After carrying the Raptors in Games 1 through 4, Leonard got some much-needed help on Tuesday.

As TSN's Josh Lewenberg noted, Raptors not named Leonard combined for 104 points in Game 5, a sizeable increase over their previous high in this series of 63 points set in Game 1.

Other than Leonard, five Raptors scored double digits in Game 5. Siakam didn't shoot particularly well from the field (7-for-19), but he knocked down a couple of 3s after going 0-for-4 from deep in Game 4 and attempted a team-high 10 free throws.

Lowry was also aggressive, scoring 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the free throw line, as was Green, who made five of his seven 3-point attempts.

Gasol even took five 3-pointers in the win. He could still look for his own shot more, but it was encouraging to see him hesitate less when left open because it forces his defender - Embiid in this series - to account for him.

If Gasol and the other "non-Kawhi Raptors" continue to step up, the 76ers are going to have a tough time extending the series, especially if their role players continue to struggle.

The other 76ers

There's been a flip in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Whereas Toronto's supporting cast has gotten better as the series has progressed, Philadelphia's has gotten worse.

James Ennis III, in particular, has fallen off following a strong start. He's gone from scoring double figures in Games 1, 2 and 3 to scoring nine points in Game 4 and one point in Game 5.

Ennis didn't even make an impact on the glass in Game 5 - he failed to pull down an offensive rebound for the first time in these playoffs.

Greg Monroe hasn't been any better for the 76ers, going from scoring 10 points in the team's Game 2 win to a total of eight points since.

The 76ers had the third-lowest scoring bench in the league after they acquired Tobias Harris, which was why it was such a surprise to see their second unit completely outplay the Raptors' in both of their wins in this series, but they might need one of Ennis, Monroe and Mike Scott to step up in Game 6.

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid's turnovers

The 76ers committed 19 turnovers in Game 5, 13 coming from their two All-Stars in Simmons and Embiid.

The Raptors did well Simmons and Embiid uncomfortable by making sure they saw multiple bodies whenever they put the ball on the floor, but it's these sorts of turnovers that are inexcusable:

Not only did the Raptors limit their own turnovers, but they also punished the 76ers for being careless by outscoring them 31-16 in points off of turnovers.

Turnovers were a problem for the 76ers all season long. Only five teams averaged more turnovers per game (14.9) and only seven teams gave up more points per game off of turnovers (17.3) during the regular season.

They've been even worse in these playoffs, leading the league in turnovers per game (16.3) and ranking behind only the Houston Rockets in opponent points off of turnovers (19.0).

To have any chance of forcing a Game 7, both Simmons and Embiid, as well as everyone else on the 76ers, will have to do a better job of taking care of the ball.

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