The Sixers knocked off the Toronto Raptors 114-99 Thursday night behind a balanced attack. Joel Embiid led the way with 24 points, 10 boards and seven assists while Tobias Harris and starter-for-now Kelly Oubre Jr. each piled on 23 points.
Furkan Korkmaz even got in on the fun to the crowd’s delight, scoring 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting off the bench.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- While Oubre got off to a decent start offensively, things began pretty shaky for him on the other end of the floor. His primary defensive assignment was Scottie Barnes, who had no trouble losing Oubre off the ball. Barnes made his first four shots from the field, scoring 12 of the Raptors first 17 points.
- There’s been a lot to like about how Tobias Harris has played so far this season. He’s shot the ball incredibly well without any of his bad tendencies showing up so far. Tonight it was his slashing in transition that got him going. He’s never been the best at finishing through contact, but that wasn’t an issue in the first quarter as three different times he got to the basket and finished through defenders. Nine of his 23 came in the first.
- With the new guys not ready to play just yet, that meant that both Jaden Springer and Furkan Korkmaz saw first quarter minutes. Springer took the Barnes assignment and did fairly well with it, and also grabbed an impressive offensive board. Korkmaz had less of an impact early, only really throwing an errant turnover after he shook free of his defender. The Sixers led by four after one.
- Like it was Sunday against the Blazers, the second unit was extremely sloppy to open up the quarter as the Raptors retook the lead. The solution however, may be simple: don’t play Paul Reed and Patrick Beverly at the same time. Reed’s struggled so far, and Beverly looks like he has a lid on the rim at the moment. With those two struggling and no real creator in that lineup, it feels like none of their baskets come easy.
- Reed looked a lot better after Nick Nurse called a timeout around the eight minute mark of the quarter. Melton checked into the game and immediately got him a dunk off a pick-and-roll. It wasn’t a perfect shift by any means, but it ended on a high note.
- Philly’s offense looked fine, if anything in the first half, but they suffocated Toronto on the other end of the floor. Despite being credited with zero blocks, Embiid was so disruptive he had the Raptors passing almost any time they drove to the basket. As a team they had five steals and generated 10 Raptors turnovers. They took a nine-point lead into the break.
- For the third time tonight, the Sixers found themselves having a fairly ugly start to a quarter. Two lackadaisical minutes had Nick Nurse calling a timeout to stop the bleeding, but the full court press the Raptors came out in only hampered the Sixers more.
- Philly settled into things off the backs of their stars. Neither Embiid nor Maxey were spectacular on offense to this point, but it was the two of them keeping Toronto at arms length for the quarter. Embiid was also able to record that elusive first block of the night on the other end of the floor when he did this to Pascal Siakam.
the process and the franchise. pic.twitter.com/PMcnLcF4XY— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 3, 2023
- For as bad as he looked in the second quarter, Pat Bev had himself a very Pat Bev quarter in the third. He finally got on the board with a layup in transition as he recorded two steals. He was really good on the glass tonight as well, three of his five rebounds coming on the offensive end.
- It really felt like this crowd was just a little more behind Korkmaz than any other player on the floor tonight. It sounded like that when he made a three in the first half and it really sounded like that at the end of the third. He got a steal as the quarter was winding down and finished with an and-1 after just completing the give-and-go with Embiid, giving the Sixers a 13-point lead after three.
- This time, the Sixers were able to carry the momentum they ended a quarter with into the next. The Raptors opened up the fourth with a technical foul, then missed five of their first six shots allowing the Sixer lead to balloon to as much as 16.
- It looked as if for a second that Embiid might be able to take the fourth quarter off for the second straight game, but that wasn’t the case tonight. Toronto’s shots started to fall after a timeout and a challenge, making it a 10-point lead and bringing Embiid back out for a full night of work.
- Believe it or not, Oubre had not shot the ball very well from three since opening night in Milwaukee. That wasn’t the case tonight, as he shot 5-of-6 from downtown. He hit a couple that sparked the run in the third quarter and stepped into one to stop Toronto’s run in the fourth. Not a bad first night in the starting lineup.
- Two of the newest Sixers did see the floor tonight, but only for the last 1:15 minutes of garbage time as Robert Covington and KJ Martin checked into the game. It was a bit odd to throw them out there for so little time, but Covington did receive quite an ovation.
- The Sixers can keep it rolling as they’ll stay here at home to take on Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET.