The Sixers (39-35) visited the Toronto Raptors (23-50) on Sunday. Philadelphia wanted to snap a three-game losing streak. Toronto wanted to put an end to a 12-game skid. The Sixers set a new franchise record in threes made to earn a wire-to-wire win over the Raptors, 135-120.

Before we get to what I saw, some notes.

Contextual Notes

The Sixers were without the services of Joel Embiid, who is recovering from a procedure to address a meniscus injury in his left knee. Tyrese Maxey missed the game with left hip tightness.

De'Anthony Melton remained out with bone stress in his lumbar spine. As did Robert Covington, who has a bone bruise in his left knee.

Terq Smith is on a two-way G League assignment with the Delaware Blue Coats and was not available.

Nick Nurse started Kyle Lowry, Cam Payne, Kelly Oubre Jr., Tobias Harris, and Mo Bamba.

The Raptors were without the services of Scottie Barnes, who has a fractured fifth metacarpal in his left hand.

Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett are conditioning for returns to competition and were not available.

Jakob Poeltl has a torn ligament in the fifth finger in his left hand and was out. Ochai Agbaji has a right hip contusion and was not available. Chris Boucher has a partial MCL tear in his right knee and was out.

Jontay Porter missed the game due to personal reasons. DJ Carton has a sprained right ankle and was out.

Darko Rajakovic started Javon Freeman-Liberty, Gary Trent Jr., Gradey Dick, Bruce Brown, and Kelly Olynyk.


- Once it was determined that Maxey would join Embiid and the other Sixers on the shelf for this game, I thought the best way to win would be to catch a heater from three and put Toronto on the ropes early. The Sixers got some shooting luck, but largely delivered on great shot quality because the Raptors' defense stunk.

Toronto didn't have any urgency in picking up assignments in transition, Lowry pulling up for an early triple above the break and Oubre setting his feet for a pair of catch-and-shoot threes in each corner in the first quarter.

The Sixers also executed well against poor screen communication from the home team. Payne stepped into an open three after clearing a screen on the right wing because his man and the screen defender didn't communicate the coverage, punishing drop coverage for an easy three points. Buddy Hield got on the board with an open three at the top of the key because the Raptors didn't communicate well in coverage against a simple ghost screen.

Philadelphia shot 12-for-22 from deep in the first half, almost matching their own efficiency on twos (14-for-26).

- Saying it was just shooting luck or executing on open looks against bad defense sells the Sixers short a bit. They were attentive to how the Raptors defended ball screens and exploited it. Philadelphia made a point to not touch the ball defender, instead slipping picks because the screen defender was not in position to guard the roll.

Screeners were rolling into open space after slipping the action, unlocking new options if the ball-handler delivered the pass because Toronto had to make rotations to cover up the runway the roller had to the basket.

- As messy as things got for Philadelphia's offense for brief stretches of the game, you saw how Lowry makes everyone smarter in real time. After Jeff Dowtin Jr. failed to deliver a skip pass across multiple Raptors for what would've been a Hield three, Lowry made sure he knew that he was available to be the middle man in the transaction and that they could've gotten the shot two passes away without needing to complete the play on a single attempt.

It's not even just the lessons he's teaching teammates. The offense is simply more competent and structured just by Lowry making the passing decisions, if not by Lowry simply being on the floor to calm things down. Regardless of who is available on any given night, the Sixers have won the games they have in the second part of the season because there is an order of operations through which the offense follows when the Philadelphia native is on the court.

By the way, this is not to say that Patrick Beverley wasn't a wise veteran who helped his younger teammates in his own right. He did, however, have more record-scratch moments on offense than Lowry does. So, perhaps Lowry has more equity as a guy to listen to on offense than Beverley did.

- I admire that Oubre never lets fear of going down hard stop him from attacking the rim aggressively. He shakes off the pain after a hard fall, gets back up, and explodes as best he can when the next opportunity presents.

- Couple of individual players to spotlight in this one. We'll start with Nico Batum, who laced a handful of timely threes of varying difficulties. He might've just blended in with the pack because of the hot night of shooting, but Batum squeezed the trigger quickly and from all over the floor. Even hit a couple fading to the side to avoid the contest.

Oubre rode a blistering night of three-point shooting to his best scoring game as a Sixer. With Embiid and Maxey out, Philadelphia needed someone to govern the group so as to avoid a humiliating loss to the even more short-handed Raptors. Oubre was more than game. He established his shooting touch with the catch-and-shoot looks in transition, and then started to heat up off the dribble in the third quarter. Oubre didn't fall in love with the perimeter game, either. He got to his left hand in the paint and converted a handful of attempts at the rim, too.


- Would not be surprised if Oubre is an entrant to Monday's injury report after the fall he took at the rim in the first half of this game. Slammed his hip into the hardwood and was clearly in a good deal of pain for at least a short time thereafter.

The Sixers (40-35) will host the Oklahoma City Thunder (51-22) on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Eastern time. You can catch the action on TNT and truTV.

Check Out Greater Atlantic City, NJ Area Athletes Who Played Games In NFL

Many people are not aware of the number of athletes from the Greater Atlantic City Region who have played in the National Football League. Football players who played at high schools in Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland, and Ocean Counties have a strong representation in the NFL over the last few decades.

One of the most difficult accomplishments in sports is to make a Professional Sports Roster and earn the opportunity to play in a game at the highest level of the sport. Check out some of the great South Jersey Athletes who have played in games in the NFL:

Gallery Credit: Joshua Hennig/Townsquare Media

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