76ers Blow another lead, fall to Raptors in Toronto 119-114
In the final road game of the season, the 76ers fall to the shorthanded Toronto Raptors by a final score of 119-114. Both James Harden and Joel Embiid struggled from the field that led to inconsistent scoring throughout the game for Philadelphia.
This was an ugly loss for the Sixers and they will need to erase it from their memories over the final two regular season games. That will be tough however, given the fact that they are slotted into a matchup with Toronto in the first round of the playoffs.
The 76ers held a 15-point lead early in the game and as usual, let it completely evaporate. Last night turned into Philadelphia’s seventh loss this season after leading by 15+ points, second only to the New York Knicks.
For the Raptors, they were led by 76ers killer Pascal Siakam, who notched a 37-point triple double. Gary Trent Jr scored 30-points, and the Raptors as a team out-rebounded the Sixers on the offensive boards 12-6, they scored 25 points off of turnovers, and scored 15 fast break points compared to Philadelphia’s three.
The Sixers are now 49-31 after losing three of four regular-season games to the Raptors. They sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings after the Bucks beat the Celtics last night. The Bucks are now 50-30 and the Celtics are 50-31, both holding tiebreakers over the Sixers. The Raptors are 47-33 and sit in fifth place in the East.
James Harden Struggles, Again
There are a lot of people jumping to conclusions about James Harden, and while the frustrations are completely valid I don’t think it’s time to turn on him. He has been putrid from the floor since joining the 76ers with a gross 36% field goal percentage.
Harden’s scoring has clearly taken a dip and he doesn’t seem to have the explosiveness that he had in the past, failing to get to the basket consistently.
Last night, Harden scored just 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting. While Harden struggles to shoot the basketball, his elite ability as a facilitator does limit some concern. He notched 15 assists last night and has really opened up the floor for the shooters in the 76ers’ lineup, which has been evident with the amount of shots falling.
Relatively Quiet Joel Embiid Game
It’s pretty funny that when we are talking about “quiet” games from Joel Embiid, he still manages to put up a 30-point, 10-rebound performance.
Toronto presents problems for the Sixers offense because they switch everything, and with their versatile and lengthy roster it doesn’t create many mismatches. They also refuse to let Embiid catch the ball without having to fight, and they pressure him the second he puts the ball on the deck, leading to uncharacteristic turnovers.
To say it was a quiet night and Embiid still have 30 points speaks to his greatness this season, but he wasn’t able to carry Philadelphia to a victory tonight.
76ers Shooters Stay Hot
Even in last night’s loss, the Sixers shot nearly 53% from beyond the arc (19-36) and 50% from the floor (37-75). With Matisse Thybulle ineligible to play, Danny Green was in the starting lineup and made the most of his opportunity, shooting 6-of-7 from three point range and scoring 18 points, which was the third highest for the Sixers last night.
Tyrese Maxey had another scoring outburst with 22 points and had another incredible shooting night making 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc.
After this loss the 76ers return back to Philadelphia to take on the Pacers for the second time this week. With just two games left in the season the Sixers look to clean up these final games against some of the league’s worst teams in Indiana and Detroit.
Mandatory Credit: The San Diego Union-Tribune