clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Raptors 102 - Sixers 86: “The Sky Is Not Falling”

Brett Brown gave the above quote when asked after the game how the team was doing. He has a lot of people to convince.

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

Tonight started off well. Joel Embiid unexpectedly was a go for tonight and scored the first eight points of the game for the Sixers, which was a great pick-us-up. But the team didn’t follow up on the strong start, and the game eventually got out of hand and everyone is panicking again.

The 76ers lost 102-86 to the Toronto Raptors, a very good basketball team whose now-best player shot the lights out for the second consecutive game. It happens. The Sixers did not play as well as they potentially can, and poor shooting and careless turnovers crippled their chances of winning. Against one of the best regular season teams in the NBA, playing well with a deep bench and a modern style, an off-night is not enough. Toronto essentially ended the game with a 13-0 run sparked by DeMar DeRozan at the end of the third quarter, despite Embiid being on the court.

The Sixers have now lost 9 of 10, and people are understandably not happy, as raised expectations and hype have given way to the same old Sixers. That being said, we’ve seen enough bad basketball to at least take some positives out of it, and I’m inclined to agree with Brett that tonight was not some indication that everything is awful and falling apart (bigger picture thinking aside) so let’s get to the bullet points and start off with a positive.

Six(ers) Shots

  1. The Sixers generally defended really well tonight, and Embiid makes so much of a difference as a rim protector. Toronto, an elite offensive team that is generally good at scoring and taking care of the ball, scored less than a point a possession and committed 18 turnovers, and Embiid visibly makes the Sixers an elite defensive team. Covington and Simmons do a great job funneling opponents toward Embiid too. As always, provided Embiid is healthy, they should be fine. Let’s think again before playing him more than 32 minutes, though.
  2. The bigger issue for the Sixers was offense. Without J.J. Redick, the Sixers don’t have anyone who can really relieve pressure off Embiid in the post. Toronto effectively doubled Embiid whenever he dribbled, and no healthy player on the roster can run an effective pick and roll with Embiid. The Sixers committed 23 turnovers, and many of those were unforced, with sloppy look-ahead passes, doubles on Embiid, and lazy decisions being the most notable.
  3. Covington only took five shots, and without Redick available teams are never going to leave Covington open for any reason. I blame him less than the circumstances that led up to this. He’s a one-trick pony on offense, with his shooting being the quite effective trick, but when the defense can key-in on him he’s mostly a decoy. Without offense from other sources, it’s not much help.
  4. Ben Simmons jump shot tracker: zero (sigh)
  5. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had his best quarter of the season in the first quarter, finishing 2-2 with five points and three assists. He then crapped the bed for the rest of the game, but that first quarter gave me hope, and he should still be a priority to play above Jerryd Bayless. Ditto for Richaun Holmes over Amir Johnson, though Johnson played an effective game tonight.
  6. The Sixers could not have picked a worse time to slump, ahead of a marquee game on Christmas Day against the Knicks. Here’s hoping it’s not more than just members of our extended family that give us angst on the holiday.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Liberty Ballers Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Philadelphia 76ers news from Liberty Ballers