The Sixers and Raptors last met back in the beginning of the season on Nov. 2 in Toronto where the Sixers defeated the Raptors 114-99. Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists and Scottie Barnes led the Raptors with 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
The thing about that game, though, is that Embiid got a ton of help from his supporting cast. Maxey assisted as usual with his 18 points, almost a slow night by his standards now. Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tobias Harris had 23 points a piece in that contest. Furkan Korkmaz added 10 off the bench. All that combined for a relatively comfortable win.
It was a similar story in the teams’ first meeting on Oct. 28 when the Sixers won 114-107. Sure, Maxey and Embiid led the way with 34 points each, but they were supported by Oubre with 18 and Harris with 15.
But that hasn’t been the story recently for Philadelphia. It’s been almost solely on the shoulders of Embiid and Maxey to carry the team for the most part as of late, with their Philadelphia teammates failing to break into double-digit points. Though it’s worked out relatively well so far, it may start to cause struggles if the supporting cast can’t get it together again. Maybe not against the Raptors, but eventually, so look to see what the other members of this team are able to do on Friday night and how it influences the comfort level of the game for the Sixers.
Since that early-season meeting, it’s been a bumpy ride for the Raptors who are 12th in the Eastern Conference at 11-16 — the Sixers are in third at 19-8. Toronto has lost six of their last eight games, including their most recent bout on Wednesday night when they fell 113-104 to the Denver Nuggets.
To put it plainly, this is another sub-.500 team that the Sixers should be able to beat... if the whole team shows up. Last time, they did, and it was a comfortable win. But the tide has turned somewhat in terms of the production of members of the Sixers not named Embiid or Maxey.
If the Embiid-Maxey duo keeps dominating as they have, and against a struggling team like the Raptors, maybe it doesn’t even matter. They are coming in hot off a game where the two combined for 86 points (51 for Embiid, 35 for Maxey). But if they have even an inkling of an off night, with the way the rest of the team is playing, there might be a huge problem.
Plus, the Sixers may be a little shorthanded in the supporting cast department. Nico Batum is out yet again for Friday with a right hamstring strain. De’Anthony Melton is questionable after exiting Wednesday’s contest early with a thigh contusion, and Robert Covington is probable as he continues to recover from illness.
For the Raptors, bench big Christian Koloko is out with an illness.
The Sixers and Raptors will tip off at 7 p.m.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBA TV
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic