The Sixers (4-35) were up 38-34 midway through the second quarter thanks to a game-opening 12-0 run, a lack of mistakes (zero turnovers in the first quarter) and a strong performance early on from Jahlil Okafor. 18 minutes into the game, Okafor had already tallied 14 points (including an impressive up-and-under), four rebounds and two assists. Hell... even Isaiah Canaan looked good for a stretch, knocking down two 3s in the span of about eight seconds, giving the Sixers a four-point lead.
It all went downhill from there.
The Raptors (24-15) would shoot 71 percent from the floor in the second quarter, and their 11-0 run to end the period sparked them to a 108-95 victory over the Sixers on Saturday night.
"That's a playoff team and that might be a deep playoff team," said Brett Brown after the game. "You appreciate their shot-makers."
The loss spoiled a splendid effort from point guard Ish Smith, who finished with a career-high 28 points, 18 of which came in the third quarter. Smith's second half explosion allowed the 76ers to hang around for most of the game - they trailed by just four early in the fourth thanks to an 11-0 run - but Kyle Lowry (25 points, 10 in the 4th quarter) did Kyle Lowry-like things against his hometown team late, and the Raptors were able to escape with a 13-point victory.
Tonight's box score may show that the Sixers shot nearly 49 percent from the field and a healthy 64.7 percent from beyond the arc, but that's a bit deceiving when taken at face value. Quite frankly, outside of Smith and Okafor (who finished with 19), the 76ers' offense never really seemed to find any rhythm. Carl Landry was third on the team in points with 11, but most of those came in garbage time.
Defensively, the team was a bit of a mess. Nerlens Noel and Hollis Thompson both netted a -22 in the plus/minus column, and the Sixers had no answer for Lowry, DeMar DeRozan (19 points) and Terrence Ross (16 points off of the bench).
The Sixers, who have now lost 11 in a row to the Raptors, are right back at it tomorrow with an early evening showdown against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
For the view from the winning side, check out the work of our friends over at Raptors HQ.
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