The sky isn’t falling by any means, but this one still stings.
With the 94-89 victory, the Sixers finally have a win over the Raptors for the first time in exactly four years, ending a 14-game losing streak against Toronto, with their last win coming on January 18th, 2013.
Meanwhile, the loss was Toronto’s first to an Atlantic Division opponent this season, as they move to 28-14 on the year and 9-1 within the division. That also puts an end to their four-game winning streak.
And the loss wasn’t the only depressing thing about this game. The Raptors came into this one already down both Patrick Patterson (sore left knee) and Lucas Nogueira (concussion protocol), and then also lost DeMarre Carroll in the third quarter after an incidental kick to the head from Pascal Siakam. What’s more, Jonas Valanciunas hit his head hard against the hardwood in the fourth and probably has a concussion as well.
Can someone find Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan and wrap them in bubblewrap, please? This is getting ridiculous.
For now, the only diagnosis for Carroll is a sore neck:
DeMarre Carroll (sore neck) will not return.— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) January 19, 2017
All things considered, if Carroll comes out of that incident with nothing more than a sore neck, Raptors fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
As for the actual game, the Sixers got out to a quick start in the first quarter, going up 18-8 in the first six minutes, but the Raptors finished the frame down only 25-21, despite shooting 36.4%.
Jared Sullinger got his first run of the season during the game’s first quarter (hey, some good news), scoring six of his eight points and a grabbing all three of his boards in his first five minutes of play. He played 14 minutes in total and mixed promising footwork and rebounding with clear rust and the kind of conditioning that comes with missing exactly half the season.
Either way, his return is certainly a good thing for the Raptors and it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in once the team gets healthy. Here was his first official bucket as a member of the Raps:
In the second quarter, the game remained tight, as the Sixers took a 46-44 lead into halftime. The Raptors looked like a team on the second night of a back-to-back, though, as they were shooting under 40% from the field and and 30% from three-point range going into halftime (and never came out of it).
On a rare positive note for this ugly game, this Norman Powell put-back jam from the third quarter was the sex:
The Raptors entered the fourth and final frame down 68-65. The Sixers went on a decent little run to start the quarter, punctuated by this amazing defensive sequence by the Sixers’ Dario Saric:
The Raptors kept things tight right to the very end thanks to 14 points from DeMar DeRozan in the final frame, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to process the surging 76ers, who have now won five of their last six and seven of their last nine.
Rookie Joel Embiid finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, two assists, a steal, and two blocks to lead the Sixers, while DeRozan finished with 25 for the Raptors, Kyle Lowry chipped in 24, and Jonas Valanciunas put up a big 10-point, 16-rebound double-double.
The Raptors finished the game shooting 39.5% from the floor, 25.0% from long range, and 65.2% from the free throw line and you simply don’t win many games in which you have that kind of shooting split.
They’ll try to put this one behind them and get back in the win column on Friday when they head to Charlotte to take on the Hornets (losers of seven of their last nine).
In the meantime, what were your takeaways from this one?