An NBA blog from Newsday's Bobby Bonett
Flashback: Air Canada explodes for 50 vs. Sixers
Day 6 of our 30-team NBA playoff flashback profiles the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors franchise has never won an NBA title, and has five playoff appearances since its inaugural season in 1995-96.
Date: May 11, 2001
Situation: The No. 5 Toronto Raptors and the No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers are tied, 1-1, heading into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Context: After starting the season 36-32, the Raptors reeled off 11 wins in 14 games down the stretch to surge to the No. 5 seed in the East. Toronto fell behind the Knicks 2-1 in the first round of the East playoffs, but came back to win Game 4 in Toronto, 100-93, and Game 5 in New York, 93-89, for the franchise’s first playoff series win. After splitting a pair of games in Philadelphia to steal home court advantage, the Raptors and 76ers headed north of the border for Game 3 of the East semifinals.
Recap: It was an historic game for Raptors star Vince Carter, who set an NBA playoff record en route to one of the most dominating playoff performances in league history. Carter, who averaged a career-best 27.6 points per game during the regular season, drained eight first-half three-pointers — a playoff record — as Toronto jumped out to a 58-41 halftime lead. They never looked back, shooting 49 percent as a team — including 54.5 percent from beyond the arc — on the way to a win. Carter finished with 50 points to lead the way. Toronto won, 102-78.
Top players: Vince Carter finished with 50 points, including 9-for-13 from three. Antonio Davis (20 points, 14 rebounds) and Chris Childs (16 points, 10 assists) each finished with double-doubles. The 76ers were held to 35 percent from the floor.
After the game: Philadelphia came back to win each of the next two games, taking a 3-2 series lead, and with it, home court advantage. Toronto held serve back at home, beating the 76ers 101-89 in Game 6, but the Sixers squeaked by the Raptors 88-87 in Game 7. The Raptors made the playoffs the next season, but haven’t won a series since.
Check back tomorrow for the Cavaliers.
You can view the whole series back clicking the "Flashback" tag below.