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Sixers-Raptors recap: Philadelphia scorched by Toronto offense

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The Sixers’ defense falters as Toronto routs Philadelphia without Joel Embiid.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers (4-14) struggled mightily on the defensive end of the floor as the Toronto Raptors (11-6) won convincingly 122-95 Monday. The absence of rim-protecting center Joel Embiid was evident, but the Raptors excelled in many areas offensively. Whether it was from deep, mid-range or long twos, the shots were dropping for a Toronto team that entered the game fifth in the league in scoring.

Philadelphia couldn’t match its 46.7 percent shooting clip from Sunday against Cleveland, going just 36-for-86 (41.9 percent) on its shot attempts tonight. The Raptors finished shooting a robust 42-for-77 from the floor (54.5 percent) as six players reached double digits.

Fueling Toronto’s scoring outburst was Kyle Lowry (24 points) and Terrence Ross (22 points). The tandem shot a collective 9-for-11 from deep. Allowing the Raptors to shoot 68.4 percent from three (13-for-19), it was tough for the Sixers to replicate that total on its end. Seemingly, the looks for Toronto and Philadelphia were on different ends of the spectrum. The Raptors were getting clean, uncontested looks while the Sixers’ shooters regularly had hands in their faces.

Contested looks didn’t affect small forward Robert Covington, who had his most efficient shooting performance this season against Toronto. Finishing with a game-high 20 points and going 7-for-11 from the floor (he shot 6-for-9 from deep), Covington looked confident and made quick decisions. He took it to the cup adeptly a couple of times tonight as well.

Also contributing offensively, Jahlil Okafor finished with 15 points on 7-for-14 shooting. He made an incredible power move through a double team into a right-hand scoop shot that showed serious promise from the big man. He struggled with rotation defensively, but he was more active than in previous games.

Good news for the Sixers: they likely get Joel Embiid back for Wednesday’s game against Sacramento. It’s been a tough recent stretch of games for the team, but with a day of rest and Embiid back in the fold there’s hope for contention against the Kings at home Wednesday.

Other Takeaways

  • Gerald Henderson’s 0-for-7 shooting performance tonight might have little impact on his role moving forward, but Nik Stauskas’ offensive impact can’t be ignored. The Canadian reached double digits in scoring once again tonight (11) and shot 50 percent from deep. He’s confident and a definite spark off the bench: showing promise and development.
  • The paint was another area Toronto tried to exploit on offense. Without Embiid serving as a hawk around the rim, the Raptors’ slashing wings and bigs had little difficulty converting near the basket. Okafor’s rim protection looked improved and he contested multiple shots, but Toronto regularly got what they wanted down low.
  • Fast break opportunities came at a premium for Philadelphia, but Dwane Casey’s group blitzed the Sixers for 20-plus points in that department. Sometimes the Raptors ran down the floor and were rewarded, off of Sixers makes, and other instances, the points came off of transition opportunities.
  • Filling in for an injured Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez is using his opportunity to thrive as a starting lead guard offensively. “El Chacho” finished with 11 points and seven assists tonight, firing a swift no-look pass to Dario Saric (eight points, four rebounds, four assists) for a layup under the basket. This is Rodriguez’s second straight game with a promising showing. He might lose containment defensively, but Rodriguez’s offensive value is undeniable.