The first game north of the border in quite some time didn’t go well for the Sixers.
They dropped their preseason opener to the Raptors, 123-107, at Scotiabank Arena Monday night.
Toronto clearly had more life playing in front of a home crowd for the first time since February of 2020. In addition to that, the Sixers shot the ball very poorly, hitting just 41.2 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from three.
The game lacked star power as Joel Embiid (rest) and Tobias Harris (right knee soreness) sat out for the Sixers. Ben Simmons continues to hold out and was not with the team. Rookie Charles Bassey did not make the trip to Toronto because of a visa issue that’s expected to be resolved, per a team official.
The Raptors were without Pascal Siakam (left shoulder), Chris Boucher (left middle finger) and Khem Birch (health and safety protocols). Gary Trent Jr. (left quad soreness) was listed as available, but did not play.
Here are observations from the loss.
Drummond looks ready
While the Sixers seemed to lack energy to start the game, Andre Drummond looked spry and in great shape in his Sixers debut. The veteran big man took advantage of the Raptors’ lack of size, putting up 17 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in the first half.
For the most part, Drummond stayed in his lane on offense, but did have five turnovers — a couple when he got a little overzealous with the ball in his hands. We’ve heard multiple players talk about his passing ability during camp and he made three nice backdoor passes that led to easy baskets.
There weren’t many positives Monday, but Drummond finished with a team-high 19 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists. You have to feel decently about his ability to back up Embiid this season.
Curry cooks in the second
Seth Curry got off to a slow start, but really got going in the second quarter. He nailed a pair of pull-up threes, which is always a great sign. He then attacked a couple overaggressive closeouts with pretty finishes at the rim.
An aggressive Curry is an extremely welcome sign for the Sixers. He finished with 14 points on 6 of 11 from the field and 2 of 3 from three.
Both Curry and Danny Green sat out the second half. The way Doc Rivers talked during training camp, he doesn’t put much stock into preseason games, so don’t expect big minutes from the team’s four returning starters from last season.
Tough night for the point guards
Rivers said the other day that Tyrese Maxey hasn’t been bad but hasn’t great during camp. That seems like a fair way to assess his night Monday.
He was quiet early, perhaps thinking too much about his new responsibilities as the team’s starting point guard and trying to mesh with players he hasn’t played with. In the second half, you saw some of his patented speed drives to the basket. He finished with 10 points and three assists, but had four turnovers in 21 minutes.
Shake Milton, a camp standout according to Rivers, struggled, going just 1 of 5 from the field. He did add five assists to just two turnovers.
With Simmons holding out, this is a huge opportunity for both Maxey and Milton. Neither player stood out, but it’s one preseason game. We’ll see how they progress.
- Isaiah Joe had a good night. He had a nice run in the second quarter with mostly rotation players with a pair of steals that led to easy baskets on the other end. He made a three and also had a nice backdoor cut that Drummond hit him on. Overall, he finished with 16 points (4 of 8 from three), three steals and two blocks — including an excellent trail block on OG Anunoby.
- It was a tough night for Furkan Korkmaz. The Turkish wing, who was awarded a three-year deal this summer, went just 5 of 15 from the field and 1 of 8 from three.
- Matisse Thybulle did Matisse Thybulle stuff, finishing with two steals and a block. He missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.
- I would’ve liked to see more Paul Reed with the regular rotation players. At one point Rivers went to Georges Niang as a small-ball five — it did not go well. Hopefully Rivers goes to Reed, who was his usual active self with 10 rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes, earlier on Thursday.
- Two-way player Grant Riller was able to get to the lane a few times in the fourth. Unfortunately, he limped off the floor late in the game. He’s a guy to keep an eye on if healthy.