In their first division matchup of the season, the Toronto Raptors travelled to Wells Fargo Arena to face Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto was up early, but failed to close the game down the stretch, losing 93-100. The last time the Raptors started the season 0-3 was in 2005-2006.
Joel Embiid led all players with 29 points and 16 rebounds in 39 minutes of action. Despite going 7 of 17 from the field, Embiid went 14 of 16 from the free throw line. Philadelphia had 33 attempts compared to Toronto’s 14. Embiid had struggled against Toronto, averaging 5 points and 10 rebounds in 2019-2020, but it was a difficult assignment for Toronto’s bigs without the defensive presence of Marc Gasol.
The 76ers outscored the Raptors in the paint (36-26) and on points off turnovers (+12) enroute to their 3rd win of the season. They had 3 of their 5 starters with double-doubles, while Toronto struggled to make shots in the later stages of the game.
In all 3 loses, Toronto held big leads, went through minutes-long shooting draughts and couldn’t close down the stretch. It has been a stark contrast to the Raptors of the last few years. In 72 games last season, they were first in the league allowing only 106.5 points per game. In their first 2 games, Toronto has given up 116 points. They struggled defensively, allowing 20 second chance points while committing 28 fouls.
Toronto’s one bright spot was OG Anunoby. Despite struggling in his first 2 games, Anunoby gave fans a glimpse of what they can expect. He had 20 points (on 7 of 11 shooting), 5 steals and 1 block. It was a quiet 20 to go along with Kyle Lowry’s 24 points and 9 assists.
Unexpected move: With Norman Powell struggling, Stanley Johnson was added to the rotation. In 10 minutes, Johnson led the bench with 7 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
Next up… The Raptors have one day to regroup as they travel back to Tampa to face the New York Knicks on New Years Eve.