By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers finally got their first win on Monday night, they were looking to continue to build momentum early in this season as they faced the Toronto Raptors in the first of their two-game match-up this week. The Raptors made it rain from beyond the arc and drowned Philly 119-109.
The Sixers could not buy a bucket early on in this game. As they just came out flat as they returned to the Scotia Bank Arena which has been a house of horrors for this squad. Once again, the atmosphere got to the Sixers. They just could not find offensive sets that worked against the Raptors and when they did get some momentum. Philly would turn the ball over or not get back on defense which allowed the Raptors to attack the basket. This is the wrong team to be figuring it out against and the Sixers will need to increase their defensive effort if they want to avoid losing two-straight games in Toronto this week.
Gary Trent Jr. (27-points) and Pascal Siakam (20-points) took full advantage of Philly’s mistakes. They combined for 47 of the Raptors 119-points. The Sixers had no answers for them. Siakam couldn’t miss early in this game he made nine straight three-pointers in the first half. When Philly would take away the three-pointer he would attack the lane. There was nothing they could do to stop him; they made some defensive adjustments to make it harder on him in the second half. However, Gary Trent Jr. then went off he scored 16-points in the third quarter that proved to be a difficult hole for the Sixers to climb their way out of.
Philly would mount a come back though in the second half. They were able to turn up the defensive effort and that forced the Raptors into more difficult shots and allowed the Sixers to fight their way back into the game. Joel Embiid (31-points) and Tyrese Maxey (31-points) led them as they combined for 62 of Philly’s 109-points. The Raptors could not stop them when they both decided to impose their will on the game. This is the third straight dominant game for Embiid who continues to round into form. He made the Raptors pay for daring to give him space to get a shot up, and Maxey made them pay for being too slow. The duo brought the Sixers back into this game and made it interesting. However, the Raptors three-point barrage was too much to overcome. They made 43.2% of their threes and the Sixers could not force them into mistakes late in the game.
The Sixers will now prepare to face the Raptors again on Friday night. If they want to get their second win of the season they will need to communicate on the defensive end. So many of their problems tonight occurred because they were not talking to each other on defense, the mistakes allowed Toronto to get easy baskets. Philly is trying to find their chemistry but that is no excuse for not getting back on the defensive end. They will need to turn their defensive energy up if they want to force Toronto into more difficult shots and start gaining some more positive momentum early in this season.