The Philadelphia 76ers take on the Toronto Raptors for the second time in ten days, but Friday's game is in friendly territory. Toronto dismantled the Sixers at the Air Canada Centre on January 14th by a score of 100-84 in what was DeMar Derozan's first game since November 28th.
The former USC shooting guard finished the night with 20 points on 9-14 shooting, but has had little success scoring over the past two games. Against Milwaukee and Memphis, he shot a combined 2-20 from the floor for just six points. Despite averaging 18.2 points per game this year, his shooting percentage of .398% is the worst in his six-year career. Former Villanova point guard and Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry has been able to pick up the slack offensively. He scored 18 points on 4-10 shooting from beyond the arc when the two teams met in mid-January, and is averaging nearly 20 points a night. On Thursday evening, Lowry was named an All-Star for the first time in his career, and was able to obtain a starting spot over Dwyane Wade after a late voting push.
The All-Star bid is certainly well deserved for Lowry, who has really taken Toronto by storm over the past two seasons after a myriad of injuries that haunted the first several years of his career. For general manager Masai Ujiri , that four-year, $48 million contract the Raptors and Lowry agreed to this past summer looks better and better every day.
For Philadelphia, Friday night's game is the front end of a back-to-back, as the team travels to take on the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday evening. Their 98-91 loss at home to the New York Knicks was their third in a row, and pulled them within a game and a half of the league's worst record. Michael Carter-Williams finished the game with a team-high 27 points, along with 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. While Carter-Williams continues to put up big point totals, he's still struggling to find any efficiency in his offensive game.
On the injury side of things, Nerlens Noel sat on Wednesday night with an upper respiratory infection, but seems likely to return to the lineup Friday. No word has emerged on the health of Tony Wroten, who has not played since January 13th. Jonas Valanciunas is listed as questionable for the Raptors with a sore left calf.
Tip-off is at 7:00 P.M.