Despite the usual heroics from their superstars, Joel Embiid and Georges Niang, the Sixers’ supporting cast largely disappointed on the night, which let the undermanned Raptors hang around for the entire game, until some otherworldly two-way play from Embiid sealed the game for Philly, 114-109.
It’s just never easy for the Sixers. Despite missing Andre Drummond, Danny Green, and Shake Milton due to COVID-19 protocols and Ben Simmons due to, you know, stuff, the Sixers headed into Tuesday night’s matchup with the Toronto Raptors in much better shape than the Dinos.
While they did see the returns of Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. from said protocols, the Raptors’ injury report heading into the game was longer than my haftorah portion (Deuteronomy), so one would think the Sixers should win this one quite easily. Not so fast! They’re the Sixers, after all. It was rather close.
The Sixers improved to 18-16 heading into Thursday night’s matchup with the Eastern Conference leading Brooklyn Nets.
Here are some stream of consciousness observations from Tuesday’s game in Toronto.
- The game hasn’t started yet, but I will always hate watching the Sixers play in this arena.
- Embiid must weigh two Chris Bouchers. Does a great job putting him under the basket early in the first for an and-1.
.@JoelEmbiid + 1. pic.twitter.com/riwh4LChfr— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 29, 2021
- Maxey and Embiid continue to grow their two man game in the half-court. Nice three by Maxey when Joel swung it his way once he got doubled in the post.
- Four first quarter free throws for Tobias. This is good! Will be interested to see how many attempts he ends up with.
- In his first quarter back from health and safety protocols, Pascal Siakam looks excellent. He’s shooting and making a bunch of contested long twos, so who knows how sustainable it is, but they’re going down. He notches 14 in the first.
- BBall Paul getting the backup five minutes instead of Charles Bassey makes sense, given the athletic profiles of Toronto’s bigs.
- I’ve quite enjoyed Marc Jackson filling in on the broadcast with Kate Scott tonight.
- Tobias has never gotten a loose ball. Not once.
- Much like the final rack in the three-point contest at All-Star Weekend, Matisse Thybulle threes should count for double.
- About midway through the second quarter, Doc switched Embiid onto Siakam instead of Harris, primarily, and it slowed him down in a big way.
- Sixers lead at half, 55-48.
- You’re never going to believe this, but the undermanned Raptors are hanging around and the Sixers have been unable to gain much separation.
- Joel is doing a great job in this game of asserting himself against a smaller Toronto team with deep post position.
- Really good, active game, defensively, from Thybulle thus far.
- Not sure if Doc just wants to save the Joel-on-Siakam matchup for tread on his tires, but they’ve reverted back to the original matchup and Siakam has resumed sautéing Tobias and Boucher is hitting open threes.
- Excellent shovel pass from Maxey to Embiid for a Joel layup garners a shout of exaltation from the big man as they head down the court. Awesome moment.
- Non-Joel Sixers have mostly been bad (we can copy-and-paste this for future recaps).
- The Raptors have taken the lead with just under two minutes left in the third quarter. Sixers regained it, narrowly, thanks to some good shooting from Georges Niang and some good defense from BBall Paul.
- Niang has top-three touch around the rim on this team. This is both a compliment to him and insult to this team. He’s up to 19! Start him!
- Harris has somehow tallied a triple double in this game. I’ve got nothing.
- Embiid is incredible. Nails a three with a defender draped all over him with three minutes left to put the Sixers up six. Trying to drag the Sixers to victory (again).
- Trent Jr. nails a three to put the Raps up one. Ugh.
- Oh my god they might win this game.
- They = the Sixers.
- Joel Embiid was just remarkable in this game. Sixers win because of him and him only, really. A masterclass by the big fella.