Coming off a dismantling of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Sixers set their sights on the Toronto Raptors. The last time the teams met, the Raptors claimed a narrow victory. The game was infamous for Joel Embiid as for the first time in either his collegiate or professional career, he scored a total of zero points.
Josh Richardson is out with a hamstring injury tonight and rookie sensation Matisse Thybulle is as of now questionable after rolling his ankle during last night’s game, a game that Joel Embiid took off. Tonight will see his return to the court looking to redeem himself.
Keys to the game
Feed the big man
Establishing Joel Embiid is a must tonight not only for a win tonight but also for the future. Toronto is not going away and the Sixers will have to find a way to win against them. Fairing surprisingly well without Kawhi, the Raptors are proving to be a top team in the east even still.
Again, all the more reason to focus on getting Embiid going early. The Sixers need to find a way to utilize their best player against any and all potential playoff opponents and they’ve been unable to solve the Raptors as of yet. Coach Brown must think outside the box to find success against versatile defenders Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Pascal Siakam.
Keep the Ben Simmons train rolling
Ben Simmons has his best offensive game last night scoring 34 points in only 26 minutes. Simmons also hit his second three-point shot of the season. Simmons should look to score even with the return of Embiid in an effort to balance the offense. The Sixers are at their best when Simmons is aggressive. He may have the highest ceiling of any player of the roster and needs to stay motivated and hungry to reach his potential.
After hitting his second three of the season, Coach Brown states that he wanted Simmons to shoot at least one three a game. It may sound like a small amount but for Simmons, it would be a huge jump in attempts compared to his usual avoidance of threes. Simmons has a chance to bully his competition night in and night out, he just needs the desire to do it.
Tonight should be another hard-fought game but I really see it going the Sixers way. Expect a physical game that could lead to a scrum or two. After the dust settles Philly will come out on top.
Final score: Raptors 96 – Sixers 103
Catch the game at 6:00 PM EST on NBC Sports Philadelphia or listen live on 97.5 FM the Fanatic.
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports