The Sixers hosted the Toronto Raptors in a very ugly game of basketball Sunday night. On a rare poor shooting night, Joel Embiid had just 21 points on 20 shots, as the Sixers scored just 14 points in the fourth quarter. Pascal Siakam led all scorers with 26 points, and Precious Achiuwa gave the Sixers problems with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. The Sixers had every opportunity, but could not put it together offensively and they fell, 93-88, to the Raptors. Here are some observations.
- The Sixers’ offense was absolutely humming to start the game. They shot the lights out in the first quarter, thanks in large part to stellar ball movement. Philly scored on 12 of its first 14 trips down the floor, putting up 37 first quarter points on 60 percent shooting.
- It always feels like finding loose change under the couch when Matisse Thybulle contributes on the offensive end. Eight points on two made threes in the first five minutes of action is like finding a 10 dollar bill. Thybulle wreaked havoc on defense as well, blocking four shots and recording three steals.
Just a beautiful dime from James Harden pic.twitter.com/tOcXAhmH1j— Harrison G. (@Harrison_Grimm) March 21, 2022
- Offensive rebounding brought Toronto right back, despite the a 16-point lead for the Sixers. They allowed 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, as DeAndre Jordan really struggled against Toronto’s lengthy bigs.
- This problem did not go away when Embiid came back in, however. Toronto scored 18 second-chance points in the half and the Sixers’ lead slowly evaporated. The Raptors would end the half on a 16-3 run, taking a three-point lead into the break.
- The fluidity of the offense from the first quarter was completely gone. The crisp ball movement turned into frantic overpassing. The Sixers really struggled to build momentum on offense when they had such a hard time ending possessions on the defensive end, as well as Joel Embiid just having an off shooting night.
- The third quarter didn’t get any prettier offensively, but the Sixers were able to come up with the stops to retake the lead. Toronto went on a five-minute scoreless streak in which the Sixers went on a 12-0 run.
Tyrese Maxey has made 100 threes this season and is shooting 41.5% from long range.— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) March 21, 2022
As a rookie, he made 31 threes and shot 30.1%.
- Due to Tobias Harris being in foul trouble, Paul Reed saw some minutes at the three (???) next to DeAndre Jordan. How did it go?
The experiment lasted 2 minutes before Rivers subbed Tobias in for Reed.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) March 21, 2022
Harden, Green, Niang, Reed and Jordan was ... not a lot of the dribbly type of players. https://t.co/xsnNnHbFYQ
Just completely unfair to Bball Paul.
- It would have been interesting to see Doc Rivers close with Tobias Harris on the bench. Harris really struggled, having just five points on 2-of-9 shooting. Another factor in this decision were the fact that Thybulle (12 points, 4 blocks, 3 steals) and Georges Niang (3 of 7 beyond the arc) were both having relatively good nights.
- James Harden took just 12 shots tonight. While he did get to the line 10 times, he needs to be more aggressive when Embiid is struggling from the field. He continued to struggle from downtown, going 0 of 4 from three. The Sixers’ offense was completely lost down the stretch with their stars having off nights.
- It is absolutely wild that the Sixers had one more chance in this game due to Scottie Barnes missing two free throws. Is that flagrant foul a tough call to end a game on? Yes. Did the Sixers deserve to lose the game, regardless of which way that call went? Also, yes.