By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers headed across the border to renew their rivalry with the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors took full advantage of holes in the Sixers defense and used a second-half offensive drubbing to beat Philly 119-114. Ending their three-game winning streak.
The Sixers started the game hot; they made their first few shots and once again were making it rain from the three-point line. They hit 19 three-pointers and had a 15-point lead over the Raptors. Joel Embiid led them he scored 30-points, grabbed 10-rebounds. Embiid got whatever he wanted from the field because the Raptors did not have anybody available to stop him. His playmaking continues to play a pivotal role for the Sixers. There were times during this game where he made something out of nothing by finding his teammates wide-open to salvage some offensive possessions for Philly. The ball movement he started allowed Danny Green to find his stroke in tonight’s game. He scored 18-points (season high). He will play a pivotal role for the Sixers, and he is starting to round into form as they head into the playoffs. His shooting and perimeter defense will be needed especially if Matisse Thybulle will not be available for away games in Toronto if they have to face the Raptors again in the playoffs.
The Raptors were able to weather the offensive storm from the Sixers. They were led by Pascal Siakam who refused to let his team lose. He scored 37-points, grabbed 11-rebounds, and had 12-assists. Siakam could not be stopped because Philly had no one available besides Joel Embiid who could make it difficult for him. Philly’s perimeter defense was extremely poor in the second half. Siakam and his teammates took full advantage of the holes in the defense. That allowed them to get separation late in the game from Philly.
The next two games for Philly will now be pivotal as they face the Indiana Pacers on Saturday afternoon, and the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. They will need to improve their perimeter defense and use these games to get their scheme right. Philly will need to win both these games to have a chance at the third seed and the East and avoid a first-round playoff match-up with the Raptors.