It’s not very often something happens in sports that’s never happened before.
That’s exactly what happened Wednesday night in the 76ers’ 104-101 win over the Raptors in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Joel Embiid did something nobody in the history of a 76ers franchise founded in 1950 as the Syracuse Nationals has ever done. And because of it, the 76ers are up 3-0 in the series.
That’s our starting point in today’s edition of Roob’s 76ers stats!
NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE: Joel Embiid’s game-winning 27-foot 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds on the game clock was the first overtime last-second game-winner in 76ers postseason history. The win was only the 76ers’ 13th playoff overtime win ever, and only the seventh decided by three or fewer points (or two or fewer points before the inception of the 3-point shot in 1979). In the first six, the closest the 76ers had to a last-second game-winner came in 1951, when 5-10 point guard Freddie Scolari scored with 10 seconds left to give the Syracuse Nationals a 91-89 win over the Philadelphia Warriors in Game 1 of their Best-of-3 Eastern Division semifinal series at the old Philadelphia Arena at 46th and Market; so it was actually a road game in Philadelphia for the team that became the 76ers in 1963. In a 119-117 win over the Royals at Cincinnati Gardens in the 1965 Eastern Division semifinals, point guard Al Bianchi hit the game-winner with 11 seconds left.
ANOTHER UNFORGETTABLE NIGHT: The 76ers had lost four straight postseason overtime games, and this was their first road overtime postseason win since the 107-101 win over the Lakers in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals at the STAPLES Center – the night Allen Iverson walked over Tyronn Lue. AI had 48 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals that night.
FIRST TIME IN 39 YEARS: The 76ers were 1-21 when trailing by 10 points after the first quarter on the road. They trailed 29-19 after the first quarter and then trailed by as many as 17 points (at 38-21) 2 ½ minutes into the second quarter before outscoring the Raptors 83-63 the rest of the game. The only other time the 76ers won a road playoff game when they trailed by double digits going into the second quarter was May 29, 1983, when they beat the Lakers 111-94 in Game 3 of the NBA finals at the Forum in Inglewood, California. , after trailing 32-21 through the first quarter. Overall, the 76ers are now 8-32 in the playoffs when trailing by double digits after the first quarter.
CLOSING IN ON WILT: With 33 points and 13 rebounds, Embiid recorded his 11th career playoff game and second in a row with 30 and 10. That’s the 3rd-most 30 and 10 games in 76ers history, behind only Wilt Chamberlain (14) and Dolph Schayes (13). This is the second time Embiid has had back-to-back 30 and 10 games. The only other 76ers with 30 and 10 in consecutive playoff games are Chamberlain (three times), Schayes (twice) and Charles Barkley, Billy Cunningham, Moses Malone and Hal Greer (once each).
READ: 3 observations after Sixers’ gritty Game 3 OT win over Raptors
PILING UP THE POINTS: Embiid had an 18-point second quarter after his 19-point first quarter on Monday. That makes him the first player in 76ers history to score 18 points in a quarter in back-to-back postseason games. It’s also the 3rd-most points in franchise history in a playoff third quarter… but the second-most in the past week. Tyrese Maxey scored 21 points in the third quarter in Game 1. There have now been a total of 12 individual quarters of at least 18 points in 76ers playoff history, and three of the 12 have been in the past five days.
BURYING THEIR 3’S: After shooting 50 percent and 47 percent from 3-point range in the first two games of the series, the 76ers shot 42 percent from deep on Wednesday. This is the first time in franchise history the 76ers have opened a series by shooting at least 40 percent in each of the first three games. The 76ers have made 43 of 93 3’s so far for 46.2 percent. They’re only the fourth team ever to average at least 30 3’s per game and shoot over 45 percent from 3-point range through three games of any playoff series since the inception of the 3-point shot in 1979.
WHO NEEDS A BENCH? Maxey played 47 minutes, 20 seconds. That’s the most minutes any 76er has played in a postseason game since Iverson played 47:40 in Game 1 of the 76ers’ 2005 first-round series against the Pistons. Tobias Harris (46:44) and Danny Green (46:15) also played over 46 minutes, making this the first 76ers postseason game in 57 years where three 76ers played at least 46 minutes. According to Stathead, on April 9, 1965, Chamberlain played 53 minutes, Chet Walker 52 minutes and Hal Greer 50 minutes in a 134-131 overtime win over the Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Division finals. Maxey and Embiid combined for 14 of the 76ers’ 21 baskets in the second half and overtime. James Harden added three and Georges Niang, Tobias Harris, Danny Green and Paul Reed had one each.
BUT THEY WON ANYWAY: The 76ers committed 22 turnovers, although they only had eight after halftime. Still, that’s their most in a postseason game in 36 years, since they committed 25 in a 126-108 win over the Bucks in Game 6 of their 1986 Eastern Conference semifinals series.
HE ACTUALLY MADE SHOTS: Before fouling out, James Harden made 7 of 13 field goal attempts for 54 shooting from the field. It’s the first time he’s been over 44 percent in his last nine games and his highest shooting percentage in his last 16 games, since he shot 55 percent against the Nuggets back on March 14 on 6-for-11. This was the 46th game this year Harden has taken at least 13 shots and only the ninth where he’s shot at least 44 percent. Harden also contributed 10 more assists, giving him 30 in the series, the 4th-most assists ever by a 76er in the first three games of any postseason series.
CAN THEY CLOSE IT OUT IN FOUR? This is only the second time in their last 34 postseason series the 76ers have had a 3-0 lead. They’re 7-0 all-time when they’ve had a 3-0 lead, and they’ve won five of those seven series in four games, the other two in five games.
1954: Led the Celtics 3-0 in division round-robin. Won Game 4 in Syracuse.
1967: Led the Celtics 3-0 in division finals. Lost Game 4 in Boston, won Game 5 in Philadelphia.
1978: Led the Knicks 3-0 in conference semifinals. Won Game 4 in New York.
1983: Led the Knicks 3-0 in conference semifinals. Won Game 4 in New York.
1983: Led the Lakers 3-0 in NBA Finals. Won Game 4 in Los Angeles.
1985: Led the Bucks 3-0 in first round. Won Game 4 at the Spectrum.
2021: Led the Wizards 3-0 in first round. Lost Game 4 in Washington, won Game 5 in Philadelphia.
They also won the best-of-5 1st-round series 3-0 in 1961 against the Philadelphia Warriors and in 1991 against the Bucks.