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Sixers hang on to beat Raptors in chippy, sloppy game

The Sixers couldn’t miss in the first half and then the Raptors mucked up the game in the second half, but James Harden and co. were able to hold on.

Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Sixers had their best shooting half ever Friday night to roll past the Toronto Raptors 117-110 Friday night.

James Harden and Joel Embiid led the way for the Sixers with 23 points a piece. Harden shot 9 of 14 from the floor and had 11 assists. Embiid shot 7 of 13 and pulled down 12 rebounds.

Tobias Harris missed tonight’s game with a non-COVID illness.

Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First Quarter

  • Unlike Wednesday's game, Philly’s offense was in a rhythm early, making seven of their first eight shots from the field and shooting 67 percent in the opening quarter. Their dribble penetration opened up good shots, but five turnovers prevented them from getting out to a sizable lead.
  • A scary moment late in the quarter, as Embiid turned his ankle stepping on the foot of OG Anunoby, though it appeared to be nothing more than a scare as he stayed in the game. He did check out a bit earlier after picking up his second foul of the game on a frustration drive.
  • While the Raptors weren’t nearly as hot as the Sixers to start the game, their shooting performance in the first was more than adequate, going 54 percent from the field. Thanks to the turnovers, they were also able to take six more shots than Philly in the first. The Sixers held a one-point lead after the first.

Second Quarter

  • When the second unit combo of Paul Reed, Jalen McDaniels, and Danuel House, Jr. has gotten praise, it is often for their work on the defensive end of the floor, but they’ve looked better offensively as of late, especially with Harden out there to captain things. Reed had two offensive boards, two assists, and nine points in the first half.
  • Harden himself was also a big reason that the minutes Embiid sat went so well. He looked considerably better physically than he did on Wednesday. Harden finished the first half with 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting, as well as seven assists.
  • The Sixers’ shooting marks in the first quarter felt unsustainable, but they managed to easily top that in the second quarter. They were a ridiculous 18 of 21 from the field, bringing their first half field goal percentage up to 77 percent, the best the Sixers have ever shot in a half. They scored 77 points and held a 20-point lead at the break.

Third Quarter

  • Regression to the mean hit the Sixers hard as the went scoreless for the first four minutes of the second half, missing four wide-open corner threes. The Raptors took this time to open the half on a 12-0 run to cut the lead to single digits.
  • After a sloppy first quarter, the Sixers only turned the ball over once in second, but wouldn’t stay the case. On top of shooting 41 percent in the third, the Sixers turned the ball over six more times in the third.
  • They did end the quarter on a strong note, making five of their last seven baskets.
  • Embiid took another hard shot to the deck, drawing a common foul and a technical foul on the same play, rather than just a flagrant. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a hard foul ruled that way, but the Sixers led by 13 after three.

Fourth Quarter

  • Just like the third, Philly was held scoreless for the first three minutes of the quarter. A 10-0 run from the Raptors cut the lead all the way down to three. Two massive blocks from McDaniels helped them stabilize, as Embiid checked back into a five-point game.
  • While the Sixers were just missing good looks in the third, that wasn’t the case down the stretch. Toronto took Jakob Poeltl off Embiid so that he could roam, and affectively threw off the Sixers’ offense. They overpassed on just about everything, unclear of what shot they wanted to get.
  • Like Wednesday against the Mavericks, the Sixers put this one away on the defensive end. Toronto scored just nine points over the last five minutes of the game. Though the exclamation point was when Harden did this to Anunoby.
  • The Sixers will head back on the road as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET.

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