It was a disappointing showing from the Sixers as they took a loss at the hands of the Toronto Raptors by a score of 110-103.
The Sixers seemingly had control for most of the game and at one point held a 14 point lead. However, the Raptors bounced back from each punch the Sixers threw and never let the game get out of hand.
Raptors Scoring Bursts
The Raptors were able to recover due to several scoring spurts throughout the game. After falling behind by a score of 24-12 early in the first, the Raptors went on a 16-0 run to end the quarter and took a lead into the second quarter.
The Raps also went on a 12-2 run to end the 3rd quarter. The Sixers did not do themselves any favors as they went on nearly a 6-minute drought without a field goal in the 1st quarter as well as an 8-minute period in the 4th.
Overall Bench Troubles
It is also very relevant that most of these struggles appeared in the minutes the bench was given time. In total the bench was only able to add 16 out of the Sixers 103 points.
This was led by 9 points from Shake Milton in his first game back since spraining his ankle. Despite allegedly being on a minutes restriction going into the game, Shake played 29 minutes which is nearly 5 more than the 24.4 mins per game he averages per game on the season.
Doc Rivers also shook up the rotation by giving rookie, Isaiah Joe minutes ahead of Furkan Korkmaz. Joe played 12 minutes scoring 3 points on 1-2 shooting. He made his presence felt on the defensive end and was given credit for this by Doc Rivers. As Doc put it, “Defensively he was absolutely fantastic and that’s what we needed.”
In contrast, Furkan Korkmaz played just 2 minutes and missed 2 three-point attempts in that time.
Dwight Howard gave a couple of solid minutes and Matisse Thybulle had his typical defensive-oriented game. The unit as a whole was unable to produce enough offense and played a major role in the loss.
Sixers Holy Trinity
While the bench certainly was an issue, the main stars of the team also were not at their best. Ben Simmons looked aggressive right from the tip-off and was arguably the best player on the floor all night.
Simmons ended with 28 points and also added 9 rebounds and 5 assists. He also had an incredibly efficient night as he scored these 28 points on just 11 shot attempts.
Ben reached the goal Doc Rivers has set for him of getting to the foul line 10 times per game and made 10 of his 14 free throws in this matchup. He also impressively shot 81.8% from the field.
Joel Embiid faced the most intense double-teams he has all season as the Raptors were determined not to allow him to be the guy that beats them. Following his career-high 50-point game, the future MVP faced at least two defenders every time he touched the ball.
Despite this, Joel still finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds. He handled the double teams fairly well and made the right passes throughout the game to find his open teammates. Unfortunately, these shots were not able to be knocked down on a regular enough basis.
Outside of Ben and Joel, the Sixers struggled to find scoring production. Tobias Harris had one of his worst performances this season scoring just 13 points on 6-17 shooting and going an abysmal 1-9 from beyond the arc.
Danny Green was able to add 9 points before fouling out with 6:40 remaining in the game. Seth Curry shot 4-12 from the field and 2-7 from beyond the arc in his 12 point performance.
The Sixers looked to be the better team for the majority of the game but were unable to capitalize on a much-improved Raptors team. The Canadian franchise seems to be forming their hard-nosed mentality and is a team that may out-perform the original expectations they carried.
Sixers vs Raptors Part 2 on Tuesday
Doc Rivers and the Sixers will have a great deal of film to watch as they have another matchup against the Raptors on Tuesday. The Sixers now hold only a half-game lead in first place over James Harden and the Nets for 1st place in the Eastern Conference.
They will need to find an overall more consistent offensive approach in order to have a different result in this game. It will be interesting to see if there are any changes to the rotations and overall bench minutes in the second game of the back-to-back.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire