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Tobi breaks out, Embiid plays through pain as Sixers beat Raptors

Tobias Harris broke out of his slump, Joel Embiid limped his way to another 30-point night and the Sixers beat the Raptors Friday.

Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Man, the 30-point and 10-rebound streak really looked like it was in jeopardy for a second there.

The Sixers were victorious over the Toronto Raptors by a score of 121-111 Friday night. Tobias Harris exploded for a season-high 33 points, shooting 12-of-23 from the floor and 5-of-9 from downtown.

Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey also hit the 30-point mark. Maxey had 33 points as well and dished out 10 assists while a hobbled Embiid kept his streak alive with 31 points and 10 rebounds. The reigning MVP also had nine assists.

Along with Nico Batum, the Sixers were also without De’Anthony Melton, Patrick Beverley and Mo Bamba tonight.

Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First Quarter

  • The first few minutes of this game were some of Embiid’s ugliest minutes of the season. He had four ugly turnovers and missed the rim on his first jump shot trying to draw a foul, while also letting Jakob Poeltl score on him every time down the floor. Poeltl had eight on 4-of-5 shooting to start the game. Embiid also appeared to painfully roll his ankle during this stretch, but did not leave the game.
  • A big reason Poeltl was able to score so easily early was the Sixers were getting killed on the perimeter in pick-and-rolls, forcing Embiid to step up early. Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris struggled to say in front of Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam, respectively. Wide open drivers coming down the lane made for quite the easy dump-offs to Poeltl.
  • This forced Nick Nurse to have a quick hook with Harris and Morris, inserting Danuel House Jr. and Robert Covington into the game. It was a fairly chaotic rotation from the jump, as Furkan Korkmaz was the first to receive backup point guard minutes.
  • Harris at least, made up for it by having his best offensive quarter in what feels like a month. He had 11 in the first, shooting 4-of-4 from the field. He doesn’t get a ton of credit for quick decision making, as one of his threes was a shot-clock grenade, but he needed to see the ball go through the hoop nonetheless. Those 11 points kept the Sixers afloat as they trailed by nine after the first.

Second Quarter

  • Harris’ hot shooting continued, as he scored seven unanswered points to start the second quarter. It appeared as if he was running more actions with Maxey than usual. Maxey typically uses Paul Reed as a screener.
  • He’d probably like more jumpers to fall, but Kelly Oubre Jr. had a fairly impressive first half. He hit his violent dunk of the night quota from a good find from Harris, and forced a humorous turnover when he knocked the ball off OG Anunoby’s leg and the ball rolled all the way down the end of the court.
  • Embiid started to figure out the Poeltl matchup, and that certainly helped the Sixers, but it was once again the play of Harris that put the Sixers ahead. He knocked down his fourth three-pointer of the game to tie it, then hit an and-1 to give the Sixers the lead. He led everyone with 24 as the Sixers took a three-point lead into halftime.

Third Quarter

  • Going back to the second half of Wednesday’s game, Maxey has had a bevy of fancy layups and finishes. Through three quarters tonight, he was 5-of-7 on his two-pointers, doing a good job of getting all the way to the rim and not settling for a floater.
  • It was a good thing Maxey and Harris were on, because Embiid was not his usual aggressive self, at least at the beginning of the quarter. Perhaps it was the ankle he rolled in the first quarter. He continued to favor that leg, and just didn’t look super comfortable fighting for positioning. He was content to let his teammates get open off his gravity, and racked up eight assists through three.
  • Despite playing with a limp, Embiid still found a way to have a burst of scoring. He ripped off 15 points in the third quarter. Most of his points came via the jumper, but he was still scoring at all three levels. It was this dime from Maxey that got him going.
  • Embiid was having a hard time just getting back on defense at the end of the quarter, which gave the Raptors a bit of a power play effect. This helped Toronto go on a 12-3 run to cut the lead to four at the end of the quarter despite a comfortable double-digit lead Philly held for most of it.

Fourth Quarter

  • It had been a while since Paul Reed had one of his “crazy little shit” moments, in the words of Marcus Morris. He had one tonight in the midst of a 10-2 run to start the quarter, euro-stepping around Dennis Schroder for a layup. He attempted an up-and-under a few minutes later that only resulted in a trip to the line, but the Sixers’ bench still found it very funny.
  • The second unit has done such a good job of having the game in a good situation when Embiid checks back in. Harris played a part in that tonight, but a lot of that is due to Reed and Maxey. Maxey scored 12 points to start the fourth, capped off by a 30-foot three pointer. Embiid checked back into the game with a 13-point lead.
  • With the Raptors pulling their bench, it took quite some one-legged stat-padding for Embiid to get to 10 rebounds to keep his streak alive, but he was able to.
  • The Sixers will finish out 2023 on the road. The trip will start with their matchup against the Miami Heat at 8 p.m. ET Christmas night on ESPN.

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