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76ers torch undermanned Raptors 126-101

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Poor 3-point shooting and lack of strong bigs under the boards made for a tough night that led to a 25-point loss in Philadelphia

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Some poor three shooting and lack of Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas became the catalyst to the Raptors 126-101 loss to the 76ers in Philadelphia.

It was Philadelphia’s third win in the last 23 meetings against the Raptors.

The Raptors were without Kawhi Leonard, Valanciunas and Ibaka in all. ESPN reported that Kawhi may be available for the second game of a back-to-back going forward while Ibaka missed his third straight contest with a sore right knee. Valanciunas has three more weeks before being reevaluated following surgery.

Simply, the Raptors were outgunned underneath the boards 53-41 and Joel Embiid, Jonah Bolden and Ben Simmons took full advantage. The Sixers’ trio combined for 32 rebounds and six blocks. Outside the arc, the Raptors couldn’t hit a three on the night, going 10-of-40 for 25 percent. These two factors contributed heavily toward the 25-point thumping.

Nick Nurse could not have wished for a better start to the game, with the Raptors’ intensity on high octane. The Raptors were able to absorb a physical first quarter thrown at them by Philly.

In the very even first quarter, which the Raptors led 30-29, the visiting team managed to go on a 10-0 run, only to let Philly back in with 10-0 run of their own. Siakam was prominent early, working hard under the offensive boards, shooting 4-from-8 and nine points in eight minutes, with support from Lowry and Fred VanVleet — who returned to the captain the bench unit.

But a second quarter, where they were out-scored 36-29, shifted the momentum as the 76ers were able to capitalize on the turnovers they created. Philly ended the game scoring 20 points from turnovers. A 26-20 third quarter gave Philly a 13-point buffer heading into the final term and they were able to stretch the final margin to 25-points by the final buzzer.

Siakam and Lowry were the only bright spots in an otherwise lackluster performance. Siakam finished with 26-points, six rebounds and went 11-from-21 from the field. Lowry shot 20-points with six rebounds and five assists. He continues his rut with threes, going 2-from-9 from deep. The pair combined for 46 out of 101-points on a night where Siakam continues to show the NBA he’s evolved as versatile talent who can play tall and lead the stats sheet.

With the Raptors down three key cogs in their system, they needed more from their bench guys which didn’t happen. Norman Powell (13) and VanVleet (12) chipped in with valuable contributions but Greg Monroe (six points in 26 minutes), OG Anunoby (five points in 22 minutes) and Danny Green (nine points in 25 minutes) were well held in check. C.J. Miles continued his horror stretch and finished with just three points in 12 minutes, while Delon Wright had four points in 17 minutes.

Nurse might need to consider giving some of these bench players a decent run down the stretch to try and run them into form. Tonight they looked horribly out of touch.

On the contrary, Philly were able to share the scoring load through Embiid (27), Simmons (26) and J.J. Redick (22), the three of which took the brunt of the offense. They had support from Furkan Korkmaz (16) off the bench and Jimmy Butler (12), who added seven rebounds and seven assists. The win moves Philly to 22-12, and 2.5 games out of first place, where the Raptors stay — despite dropping to 25-10.

The Raptors have four days off to recover before suiting up for a date in Florida against the Heat on Boxing Day, followed by a pair of games against the Magic and the Bulls in Toronto.