Toronto, Philadelphia gear up for another big sporting battle

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TORONTO — Philadelphia may be known as The City of Brotherly Love, but it also is part of many fierce sporting rivalries.

Philly fans are widely regarded as some of the most passionate in sports, something Toronto teams and athletes have become familiar with over the years in several different venues.

The two cities lock horns again starting Saturday when the Toronto Raptors host the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of their second-round NBA playoff series

Here’s a look at some memorable Toronto-Philadelphia clashes:

 

MAPLE LEAFS VS. FLYERS

The NHL teams have squared off six times in the playoffs, with Philadelphia winning five of the series.

The 1976 series stands out for many longtime hockey fans.

Three Flyers players were handed a variety of charges by police, including assault and possession of an offensive weapon — a hockey stick — after Game 3 at Maple Leafs Gardens. All were eventually acquitted.

In Game 6, Darryl Sittler tied a playoff record with five goals to lead the Leafs to victory. But the Flyers prevailed 7-3 on home ice in Game 7.

The most recent Leafs-Flyers playoff series was in 2004. Philly’s Jeremy Roenick scored in overtime in Game 6 at the then-Air Canada Centre to end the series.

 

BLUE JAYS VS. PHILLIES

The 1993 World Series produced the most iconic moment in Blue Jays history as Joe Carter hit a walk-off home run against Phillies closer Mitch Williams in Game 6 at the then-SkyDome to give Toronto its second championship in a row.

The late Tom Cheek called the game on the Blue Jays’ radio network and his words are equally memorable — “Touch ’em all, Joe, you’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!”

The series turned in Game 4 in Philadelphia. The Blue Jays scored six runs in the eighth inning to erase a 14-9 deficit, leading to a wild 15-14 win that put Toronto up 3-1 in the series.

 

RAPTORS VS. 76ERS

This year marks the second time Toronto and Philadelphia meet in the second round of the playoffs.

The other time came in 2001, Toronto’s first second-round appearance in franchise history.

Despite winning a rare Game 1, the Raptors lost the series in Game 7 in Philadelphia. Vince Carter’s buzzer-beater rimmed out, giving the Sixers an 88-87 win.

There was controversy earlier in the day as Carter got permission to attend his graduation ceremony at the University of North Carolina before making his way to Philadelphia.

The series featured two 50-plus-point games by Sixers star Allen Iverson and one 50-point outing for Carter.

 

ROCK VS. WINGS

While the National Lacrosse League isn’t as popular as the NHL, MLB or the NBA, Toronto and Philadelphia teams delivered a memorable 2001 season finale.

Before an NLL record crowd of 19,409 at the then-ACC, the visiting Wings upset the two-time reigning champion Rock 9-8 in the league’s championship game.

Wings goaltender Dallas Eliuk of Vancouver was named championship MVP.

 

GEORGE CHUVALO VS. “SMOKIN'” JOE FRAZIER

In a heavyweight bout at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1967, Philly’s Frazier landed a devastating blow on Chuvalo that fractured the Toronto boxer’s orbital bone. It was a fourth-round TKO because of an eye cut.

Less than a year after the brutal injury, however, Chuvalo returned to the ring. He kept fighting for another 10 years.

Chuvalo fought 93 times as a pro, never getting knocked off his feet.

Frazier, who died in 2011, was the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973 and beat Muhammad Ali in the “Fight of the Century” in 1971.