Something must've been in the air on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly because the Philadelphia 76ers were feeling it. After back-to-back tight-knit games that resulted in one loss and one win, the Sixers come away at 2-1, taking the lead for the first time over the Toronto Raptors. It was being said for the last couple of days that if Sixers' center Joel Embiid steps up, then the Sixers are going to be in much better shape. The big man ended up having his best showing during Game 3, and Philly was rocking as the Sixers came away with a 116-95 victory over Toronto.

It's been a long time since Philadelphia had back-to-back playoff appearances. Last year, when the Sixers made it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, people were just excited to be there. But the cocky 76ers who felt unbreakable didn't realize how much talent and experience wins in the NBA. So they took a rough 4-1 loss in the series against the Boston Celtics. This year, Philly doesn't want the same issue. After stealing a game in Toronto for the first time since 2012, the city was buzzing on Thursday to create a hostile environment for the visitors.

As expected, South Philly was a tough place to overcome, and the Raptors ended up falling way short to the Sixers. Embiid played off of the crowd's energy and ended up knocking down 33 points, ten rebounds, and five blocks in just 28 minutes of playing time.

Knee issues? Stomach problems? All of that was left in the past during Game 3 as Embiid was all over the floor putting on a show. From draining contested three-point shots, to windmill dunking before being taken out for the rest of the night, Embiid proved precisely why he once said he's the 'most unstoppable player in the league.'

Fortunately, the Sixers get two days off, and the series will remain in Philly as they host Toronto for the second time this postseason. Assuming the last thing Toronto wants to do is fall to 3-1 to Philly, the 76ers are most likely to get the Raptors best effort this Sunday. During the first two matchups, Embiid struggled greatly to get it going in the first two matchups, but if he comes out firing as he did on Thursday along with help from a star or two beside him, the Sixers could come out of this series looking like potentially the most dangerous team left. Clearly, it all starts with Embiid.

Follow Justin on Twitter: @JGrasso_


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