Tonight's matchup against the Raptors marked the second straight game the Philadelphia 76ers were without the young flat-topped big man Nerlens Noel and ended up as the second straight game they lost by double digits at home. Not only were they without Noel, but his replacement from the game before, Richaun Holmes, was also in street clothes due to injury. For those playing at home, that meant the equivalent to the population size of Dunmore, Pennsylvania was on the Sixers inactive list.
The Sixers started off playing what was one of, if not, the best offensive quarters they've put together all season finishing with an almost unheard of 34 points. The outburst was lead by Jahlil Okafor who connected on five of his first eight attempts in the opening quarter. Everything was coming up Milhouse on the offensive side of the ball for the first half, but the defensive end was a different story.
The Raptors reenacted the Sixer first quarter as they too netted 34 points while shooting 68% during the stretch. They started out hitting nine of their first eleven and ended it with a Kyle Lowry buzzer beater from three feet beyond the arc.
With an offense that tends to become as stagnant as imaginable, the Sixers need an efficient defensive effort to come away with a victory and tonight that was not in the cards.
As was the story with multiple games this season, the offensive outcome plummeted at the start of the second half and the Raptors took full advantage. Lead by young prospect (?) Luis Scola's 17 third quarter points, the Raptors came out of the break on an 11-0 run, well on their way to their second straight quarter with over 30 points and never looked back.
This one was in the books by the time we were halfway through the third quarter. I swear I didn't just copy and paste that from other game recaps so far this season.
A few nuggets from the night:
- Jahlil's offensive game is truly a thing of beauty. There's no doubt he's way ahead of the curve in that department. Where the question of if he can become a superstar in this league remains on the defensive end. Multiple times tonight he looked lost or even confused on defensive rotations. Add in his return to norm on the defensive boards, and we can all see he has work to do on that side of the ball.
- Nik Stauskas continues to struggle to shoot the basketball. He was 1-7 from behind the arc on Monday and wasn't a much better 2-7 tonight. He had a good amount of open looks but just couldn't knock them down. I still believe in Sauce.
- Christian Wood had a couple of hilariously awful jump shots in the first half. The first being a pretty delicious airball from the right elbow and the second being one from the top of the key that clanked hard off the backboard.
- I love me some Jerami Grant. Jerami was getting to the basket at will and getting some pretty nice looks. No he didn't finish them, but the opportunities were there. Which at this point, is all I can ask for.