Sixers Overcome Early Shooting Woes to Top Raptors
Tuesday didn’t appear to be the Sixers’ night early on. But after a brutal shooting start, they rode Joel Embiid, who had another monster game, to a 100-93 win over the Raptors.
The victory extends the Sixers’ winning streak at the Wells Fargo Center to 17 games and improves their record to 3-1 overall on the young season. Embiid, who missed his team’s abysmal loss in Cleveland Sunday with back stiffness, came back in grand fashion. The All-Star big man had a game-high 29 points and 16 rebounds.
The Sixers recovered from a 17-point first quarter in which they made just 3 of their last 22 shots. Embiid and Ben Simmons had a parade to the foul line in the second quarter that led to the game being tied, but an 8-0 Raptors run sent Toronto into the locker room with a 56-48 lead.
In the first half, the Sixers shot just 28 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from three. Embiid and his 18 points – 11 of 11 from the line – kept them in the game.
While the Raptors’ defense was strong, the Sixers missed several open looks. Seth Curry and Danny Green shot a combined 2 of 10 before halftime. After a strong start, Tobias Harris finished the first half just 5 of 14.
The Sixers’ poor shooting coincided with Toronto seemingly not missing beyond the arc. The Raptors came into the game shooting 33.3 percent from three, tied for 20th in the NBA. Toronto had little trouble knocking down long-range shots Tuesday, going 17 of 45 (37.8 percent).
While in the midst of another Toronto run in the middle of the third that saw the Raptors extend their lead to 14, Embiid went down, favoring his right leg after a turnover. Embiid went back to the locker room but came back out just in time to lead the Sixers on a run to end the quarter and tie the game at 76-76.
Harris bounced back in the second half, hitting a few huge baskets down the stretch. He was decisive and aggressive offensively against a good perimeter defensive team. It was one of the better two-way games Harris has played as a Sixer. He finished with 26 points (11 of 20), 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Simmons had a tough night shooting the basketball (3 of 11), but he was outstanding defensively on All-Star Pascal Siakam. Siakam scored 20 points but went just 8 of 23 from the field. Overall, the Sixers were strong defensively as a team. Though Toronto shot the ball well from distance, they hit just 35.6 percent overall. And in the decisive fourth quarter, the Raptors hit just 2 of 8 from three. Toronto scored just 37 points in the second half, a huge reason for the Sixers’ win.
There won’t be much time to rest as the Sixers travel to Orlando, a place they never seem to fare well, for a New Year’s Eve date with the Magic Thursday night.