After getting blown out on the road five nights ago in San Antonio losing 123-96 to the Spurs, the Philadelphia 76ers returned to blow out the New York Knicks 131-109. Tonight, the Sixers face the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center in the next round of their bout with the kids from Canada – or the kids that reside in Canada, anyway.
In that Wednesday night blowout of the Knicks, Joel Embiid finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Simmons had another triple-double (13/12/10), and Jimmy Butler finished with 20. Rookie Landry Shamet added 17 points off the bench – a career high – leading to this lovely exchange with Butler in the post-game interviews:
It took a while for the media to ask Landry Shamet a question, so Jimmy Butler took it upon himself #Sixers pic.twitter.com/MARGOzBv1G— Dave Uram (@MrUram) December 20, 2018
(Who said Jimmy Butler would be a negative influence on this team? I’m loving this.)
The Raptors are having a weird last eight days. They dropped games to the Portland Trailblazers and Denver Nuggets but rebounded to beat the Indiana Pacers and last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 37 points in 32 minutes with Kyle Lowry not playing. Pascal Siakam added a double-double with 15 points and ten rebounds. Second year forward OG Anunoby also poured in 21 points in 22 minutes.
This next round of Sixers versus Raptors might be different when you look at who may or may not be on the floor for Toronto. According to NBA.com via Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, Leonard will not play tonight on this second night of a back-to-back. Toronto is 7-1 this season without Leonard, but the Raptors will also be minus Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, and Serge Ibaka.
Nurse mentioned that Lowry and Green were “not likely” to play, and there’s been no official word on Ibaka.
Since the Raptors won’t be at full strength, this game is a bit of a wash in terms of a real test for the Sixers. It might feel good to get a win at home tonight (the Raptors first visit to South Philly this season, by the way) considering they haven’t beaten Toronto, yet, this season – looking okay at certain points and just plain awful in others. (I won’t bring up how Ben Simmons looked in his first game with Kawhi defending him.)
Our own Adam interviewed Joshua Howe of Raptors Republic earlier today for a quick Q&A ahead of tonight’s game, so feel free to click over there for more in-depth thoughts about tonight’s game.
Who: Toronto Raptors @ Philadelphia 76ers
When: 7:30 pm EST
Where: Philadelphia, PA, Wells Fargo Center
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Sixers: Markelle Fultz (out, shoulder), Zhaire Smith (out, foot), Justin Patton (out, foot)
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard (out, rest — presumably), Jonas Valanciunas (out, thumb), Kyle Lowry (questionable, thigh), Serge Ibaka (questionable, knee), Danny Green (questionable, knee)