Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points as the Toronto Raptors powered into the NBA Eastern Conference playoff semifinals with a 115-96 demolition of the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.
The Raptors sealed a 4-1 victory in the best-of-seven series to set up a meeting with the Philadelphia 76ers in the next round.
Leonard once again proved to be the talisman for Toronto, making eight of 11 field goal attempts to lead the scoring for the second seeds, who exploded for 35 points in the first quarter and never looked back.
Leonard also added seven rebounds and two assists while Pascal Siakam had a big game with 24 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Three other Toronto players made double figures with Kyle Lowry finishing on 14 points, Serge Ibaka 10 and Norman Powell adding 11 off the bench.
Orlando meanwhile were unable to break free of a suffocating Toronto defensive effort, with star center Nikola Vucevic restricted to six points and Evan Fournier held to 10 points.
D.J. Augustin led the scoring for Orlando with 15 points.
In Philadelphia, Joel Embiid led the 76ers into the NBA Eastern Conference playoff semifinals on Tuesday with 23 points in a 122-100 blowout against the Brooklyn Nets.
After an ill-tempered Game Four where Embiid was at the centre of a mass brawl, the Sixers ruthlessly dispatched Brooklyn to claim a 4-1 series victory at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers, who will now face the Toronto Raptors in the next round, were always in control after surging into a 17-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
They led 60-31 at half-time as Brooklyn’s challenge effectively collapsed.
Embiid was again immense for Philadelphia, hauling in 13 rebounds to go with his points tally.
Five other Philadelphia players made double figures, with Ben Simmons scoring 13 points and Tobias Harris 12. JJ Redick and James Ennis III added 11 apiece. Jonathon Simmons finished with 10 from the bench.
Brooklyn’s season ended in a disappointing fashion, with point guard D’Angelo Russell having a woeful night after a dazzling season.
Russell finished with eight points after making just three of 16 attempts from the field.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the Brooklyn scoring with 21 points from the bench in 15 minutes on court, but by that stage the game was effectively over with the Sixers sitting on a commanding lead.
Caris LeVert finished with 18 points. (Agence France-Presse)
Tags: Brooklyn Nets, Caris LeVert, JJ Redick, Joel Embiid, Jonathon Simmons, Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, NBA, NBA Eastern Conference, NBA news, NBA rumors, Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Tobias Harris, Toronto Raptors