PREVIEW: Philadelphia 76ers try to rebound to gain split with Toronto Raptors

Feb 21, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis (0) defends during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers will be out to improve their shooting Tuesday night as they try to gain a split of their two-game set with the host Toronto Raptors at Tampa.

The 76ers shot 38.8 percent (33 of 85) from the field Sunday in losing the opener 110-103 while the Raptors shot 49.4 percent (40 of 81) to extend their winning streak to four games and move above .500 for the first time this season at 16-15.

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The Raptors’ defense held Joel Embiid to 6-for-20 shooting from the field. He scored 25 points by making 12 of 14 free throws. He also grabbed 17 rebounds. He had scored a career-best 50 points in his previous game.

“As soon as I crossed halfcourt, they sent two or three guys at me to make sure I wasn’t going to be the one that beat them tonight,” Embiid said. “But overall, I thought I stayed within myself and within the team concept and made a lot of passes out of it. We just didn’t make enough shots.”

The Raptors started with a relatively small lineup and used center Aron Baynes off the bench to combat Embiid’s size.

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“We kind of had to (Baynes) him in there,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “The times we didn’t it wasn’t pretty, it was tough, that’s where (Embiid) did most of his damage and we just didn’t really have any answer and there almost wasn’t time to do anything, because he was just coming down and planting under the basket and catching it, getting a foul, and laying it in there a couple possessions in a row. So we didn’t really have much choice. So, unbelievable job (by Baynes) and I thought he battled him hard.”

Baynes ended with eight points, five rebounds and one steal in nearly 30 minutes.

The Raptors had 23 points each from Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam. Reserve Chris Boucher scored all of his 17 points in the second half, 11 in the fourth quarter, and matched his career best with five 3-pointers. He also had five rebounds and three blocks.

“Chris was ballin’,” VanVleet said. “That’s the luxury of having a gunslinger like him that can get hot at any moment.”

The Raptors were without Kyle Lowry (sprained thumb) for the third straight game. He was listed as questionable on Monday.

The 76ers have lost 16 straight regular-season road games to the Raptors. Philadelphia did win Game 2 of the 2019 Eastern Conference semifinals at Toronto in 2019.

The 76ers had their full team together Sunday for the first time since Dec. 26 with the return of Ben Simmons and Shake Milton.

Simmons, who missed two games with an illness, had 28 points while Milton, who was out five games with a sprained left ankle, had nine points coming off the bench.

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The Raptors had a 35-16 advantage in bench points. Bench production has been a problem for Philadelphia recently.

“You just get through the season and keep working on it,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s 31 games into the season. It hasn’t been this way all year with our bench; it’s just been this way lately. So we’ll work our way through it. I thought in the second half, we never matched up right correctly as far as transition. I thought that’s where they beat us more.”

–Field Level Media