There’s a low hum around the Toronto Raptors right now, where before there was silence. Eleven wins in 12 games will do that for you, and Toronto is putting up numbers in winnable games, catapulting to third in the NBA in net rating (+8.8).
So maybe, after a couple weeks of games against lottery teams, it would be nice to see more of a challenge. Right?
The Raptors may get that tonight against a young Philadelphia team, albeit it’s an opponent without their star in Joel Embiid. The 76ers centre was upgraded to probable for Thursday’s game, but a game time decision will leave him sitting again with back pain.
Joel Embiid will NOT play tonight— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) December 21, 2017
Still, Toronto will have to deal with Ben Simmons, a Rookie of the Year shoo-in, and a sharpshooting Philadelphia team that can get it going at any time. They won’t have the guy who basically peaks somewhere between David Robinson and Hakeem, but there’s still threat here.
Perhaps, seeing how Jonas Valanciunas and other Raptors bigs stack up with Embiid will be a plot for Saturday. The two teams will meet again then in Toronto. For a full preview, read Joel Stephens’ masterpiece from earlier today. Here are the other game details:
Where to Watch
Sportsnet One, 7:00 pm
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Philadelphia – Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Amir Johnson
Toronto – Lucas Nogueira (calf), C.J. Miles (dental)
Philadelphia – Trevor Booker (probable - illness), Joel Embiid (back), J.J. Redick (hamstring) Markelle Fultz (shoulder), Justin Anderson (shin splints), Furkan Korkmaz