Yes, the Raptors were without Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, and were playing their second game of a back-to-back …
… but damnit, a win is a win, okay!
The Philadelphia 76ers got their first win over the Toronto Raptors this season, 126-101. Tonight was the first night the Sixers played the Raptors at Wells Fargo – the previous two games were in Toronto.
Let me re-iterate. I know the Raptors were minus a bunch of starters and tired but clearing even the slightest mental block about beating the current best team in the conference is important. (It’s equally important considering the Sixers took El’s in both of their previous meetings.)
The first quarter of the game was equally abysmal for both teams from a shooting perspective. Both teams combined to shoot 21/52 in the first 12 minutes. Joel Embiid had a hot second quarter going 5/6 from the field helping the team shoot 67% in the second quarter and sparked a 16-5 run that put the Sixers up 65-59 at the half.
Defense continued in the third quarter as the Sixers held the Raptors to 20 points building a 91-79 lead after three quarters. Toronto was too short-handed to really do anything about it, and the lead kept ballooning. The Raptors three point shooting – which killed the Sixers in previous two meetings against Toronto among other things – was contained (10/40 TOR 3pt%) either from tired legs or good defense. (Let’s go with good defense, okay?)
Joel Embiid finished with 27 points off 10/15 shooting and 11 rebounds. Redick went 4/5 from deep en route to 22 points, and Ben Simmons finished with by far his best game against the Raptors: 26 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. For the Raptors, Pascal Siakam led the away team with 26 points on 21 shots. Kyle Lowry did have 20 points but was 6/16 from the field. Fred VanVleet had a solid second quarter, but went cold after that finishing with 12 points on 5/14 shooting.
This post-game wouldn’t be complete without me mentioning Jonah Bolden’s first half. With Wilson Chandler out for tonight’s game, Bolden got his minutes. Bolden had three blocks in the first quarter, and had a solid game overall: four points, four blocks, nine rebounds, and +14 in 25 mintues.
It also needs to be pointed out that some of the whistles in this game were a little egregious. Butler, Embiid, and Simmons all picked up technical fouls. The last of which (Simmons) provided a nice comical moment with some folks sitting courtside:
Ben Simmons was so upset about this call that he had to take a seat in the stands. pic.twitter.com/wFYuRii0on— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 23, 2018
You don’t win or lose by complaining about the refereeing, but … it was pretty bad at certain points.
Hey, it’s fine. The Sixers won. They finally get a dub-ya against Toronto – even if they were short handed and tired. Let’s all come back to the televisions and turn the channel off the Yule Log for Sixers/Celtics.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all that jazz, Sixers faithful.
On to Boston!