TORONTO — Doc Rivers acknowledged that any onlookers who concluded that the Raptors outhustled the 76ers in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series were correct.

“Your eyes probably told you the truth,” the coach said following Wednesday’s practice. “I thought [the Raptors] clearly played with more energy.”

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The Sixers’ chance at a four-game sweep has now tightened to a 3-2 lead as the series shifts back to Toronto for Thursday’s Game 6 at Scotiabank Arena. There are plenty of tactical elements the Sixers say they must sharpen to finally finish off the Raptors. But it all starts with matching their opponent’s sense of urgency.

“I think both teams have kind of served notice and both teams have the other team’s attention,” Rivers said. “If you don’t have that, then we’re all in trouble.”

Sixers veteran Danny Green, who has won three NBA championships during his career, called it having an “appropriate fear” of every foe and every game. It’s a phrase coined in NBA circles by legendary San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and that was also uttered regularly by Brett Brown when he coached the Sixers.

Green also stressed before Saturday’s Game 4 loss that closeout opportunities are the most difficult postseason games to win. So far during these playoffs, the Boston Celtics completed their sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, but the Denver Nuggets joined the Raptors in pushing a 3-0 deficit to a Game 5. A must-win scenario also fits this Toronto team that thrives on high-effort plays, such as offensive rebounding and a chaotic style of defense.

Still, Green did not mince words when describing the Sixers’ output since two dominant home victories to open this series.

“We were very lackadaisical in a lot of things that we did the last two or three games and just expected to turn it on,” said Green, who finished with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from three-point range in Game 4. “We can’t just wait to turn it on at the start of the fourth quarter. We’ve got to have it on from start to finish.”

Fellow Sixers veteran Tobias Harris agreed, calling Monday’s performance “terrible.” And intangibles such as intensity and competitiveness do not just fuel how the game looks aesthetically. They are directly connected to the Sixers’ on-court productivity.

The Sixers’ offense has struggled in the series’ past three games, including a dreadful 38.3% shooting Monday night. Rivers said Wednesday that his staff calculated that more than 60% of the Sixers’ Game 5 possessions began with taking the ball out of bounds following a Toronto made basket or free throw, often after the Raptors blew by defenders, including MVP finalist Joel Embiid, and/or milked the shot clock to its final seconds. That makes it paramount for the Sixers to get more defensive stops Thursday, which will allow them to play with pace in pushing the ball down the floor in transition and moving it from side-to-side in the half-court.

The Raptors have also consistently trapped Embiid, who on Monday acknowledged some hesitancy while playing through a torn ligament in his thumb suffered during Game 3. That’s why Harris again emphasized the need to drive downhill and kick to outside shooters, making it more difficult for Toronto’s scrambling defense that is anchored by like-sized, rangy wings who tend to leave the corners vacant while collapsing and helping.

“I’m making it sound very easy,” Harris said. “But I do believe, when we did that in Game 1 and Game 2, it was effective for us. We got good looks. We got high-percentage looks. And even some of the shots that we missed, we were able to put ourselves in rebounding position.

“[We’ve] got to get back to that as a group. We’ve got to get back to making quick decisions.”

Rivers said that, after Sunday’s film session between Games 4 and 5, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey commended the staff’s ability to identify corrections and relay them to players in preparation for Game 5.

“You’re going to be ready,” Morey told Rivers.

“We’ll see,” Rivers responded.

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The Sixers, of course, were not. Rivers called it the “human factor” that can be frustratingly unpredictable while playing from ahead.

Rivers’ players say they now understand the sense of urgency required to finally finish off the Raptors. And those watching should immediately be able to recognize if they have brought that mentality to Game 6.

“It’s not going to be easy,” reserve big man Paul Reed said. “They’re not just gonna lay down, so we’re going to have to make them get down.”