Joel Embiid had his way tonight against fellow Cameroonian Pascal Siakam as the Sixers won a thriller against the Toronto Raptors.
Gary Trent Jr. and Pascal Siakam returned for this game after extended absences due to COVID-19 protocols, giving the Sixers more of a challenge. Despite the return of the aforementioned duo, Nick Nurse and the Raptors were still missing the presence of rookie sensation Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Goran Dragic, and Fred VanVleet, among others. The Sixers were without Danny Green, Shake Milton, and Andre Drummond. Philly earned their first back-to-back wins in three weeks with a 114-109 win in Toronto.
Siakam carried Toronto’s efforts in the first quarter, finishing the frame with 14 points on 6/8 shooting. However, the Sixers held an early 27-24 edge entering the second quarter. Fellow Cameroonian Joel Embiid dropped in 8 first-quarter points while shooting 3/5 from the field. Philly managed to outscore Toronto 28-24 in the second quarter, which earned them a 55-48 halftime advantage. During the second stanza, Tyrese Maxey scored his 1,000th career point!
Doc Rivers received significant contributions from the bench, particularly Furkan Korkmaz and Georges Niang, who combined for 16 points and four threes in the first half! Unsurprisingly, Embiid paced the Sixers’ first-half scoring with 12 points on 4/7 shooting. Tobias Harris accumulated a variety of stats in the game’s first 24 minutes: 9 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and two steals.
Siakam led the Raptors as he entered halftime with 18 points on 7/13 shooting, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and one block. Gary Trent Jr. added 11 points while shooting 3/11 from the field, including 3/6 from three. Chris Boucher also made an early impact with 7 points on 3/5 shooting, 10 rebounds, and two blocks.
Boucher opened up the second half with 3 threes in just over three minutes. Eventually, Toronto took a brief lead in the third quarter and outscored Philly 32-30. Embiid was the Sixers’ lone provider of offense for the majority of the quarter, scoring 15 of the Sixers’ 30 points. The visiting Sixers took an 85-81 lead into the fourth quarter.
Niang and Boucher alternated scoring spurts in the early portion of the fourth. The latter’s scoring kept the Raptors in the game. After an 8-0 Sixer run, a 9-0 Raptor run midway through the quarter cut the Sixer lead to three. Trent Jr. hit a three with under 2 minutes remaining to give Toronto a one-point lead, which forced Rivers to call a panic timeout. The Sixers managed to escape 114-109 after outscoring Toronto 29-28 in the final frame.
Embiid became the first Sixers player with 30+ points in six straight road games since Allen Iverson in 2006. The big man finished with 36 points (11/16 FG, 12/14 FT, 2/3 3P), 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and one block in 34 minutes. Harris added 19 points (3/12 FG, 13/14 FT, 0/1 3P), 12 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, and one block in 35 minutes. Off the bench, Niang poured in 19 points (7/10 FG, 5/8 3P) in 22 minutes.
The team shot 44% from the field, including 14/30 from three. Also, Doc Rivers’ squad took advantage of a wide free throw discrepancy, converting on 32/38 free throws, compared to Toronto’s 18/22 from the line.
Toronto also shot 44% from the field on ten more shots, including 15/41 from deep. Siakam accumulated 28 points (11/21 FG, 0/4 3P, 6/6 FT), 8 assists, 6 rebounds, one steal, and one block in 41 minutes. Meanwhile, Boucher also dropped 28 points (10/14 FG, 5/7 3P, 3/4 FT), 19 rebounds, two blocks, and one steal in 37 minutes. Trent Jr. managed to tally 19 points (6/24 FG, 4/13 3P, 3/5 FT), 7 assists, and two steals in 41 minutes.
The Sixers’ next contest is scheduled for Thursday, December 30th at 7:00 pm EST in Brooklyn. You can follow the game on NBATV, NBC Sports Philly, and YES. For more Sixers coverage and other Philly sports content, visit PhillySportsNetwork.com!