By Kyle Sullivan
With five games left in the 2013-14 season, the Sixers are back in action Wednesday night as they head up north to Toronto to take on the Atlantic Division leading Raptors. The Sixers are coming off a 105-101 loss to Brooklyn this past Saturday, while the Raptors beat the Bucks, 102-98, in their last outing. The last time these two teams met, on January 24, the Raptors left Philadelphia with a 104-95 win.
Matchup to Watch
Center: Jonas Valanciunas vs. Henry Sims
While Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas put up just six points and six rebounds in 20 minutes of action the last time these two teams met, he’s averaged 18.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists during a three-game Toronto win streak.
In three games this month, Henry Sims is averaging 16.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assist for the Sixers. Since joining Philadelphia at the trade deadline, he’s eclipsed the 15-point mark seven times in 21 appearances and has also recorded four double-doubles. Over his last 10 games, he’s averaging 14.0 points (49.1 FG%), 8.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.
Hot Hand Hollis
In the Sixers last game against Brooklyn, Hollis Thompson put up 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, making all six of his attempts from behind the three-point line. Thompson has been a consistent shooter from deep, and he’s proved it in his last seven games. Since March 24, Thompson is 18-of-26 (69.2%) from beyond the arc. He’s shooting 40.8% from deep, good for 37th in the NBA and first among rookies.
Top of the Atlantic
The Toronto Raptors currently sit atop the Atlantic Division with a 45-32 record. The last time the Raptors won the Atlantic was in 2007, when they finished with a 47-35 record, eventually losing in the first round of the playoffs to the New Jersey Nets. The Raptors are hoping to grab their second division title since entering the Atlantic back in 2004.
Head coach Brett Brown has consistently praised veteran forward Thaddeus Young as a leader on his team, and he’s led not only by his words but also by his example on the court. Since the trade deadline, Young is averaging 20.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. In Saturday’s loss to Brooklyn, he scored 20 points and added five rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
|Category||Sixers (17-60)||Raptors (45-32)|
|PPG||Thaddeus Young – 18.0||DeMar DeRozan – 22.8|
|RPG||Henry Sims – 7.1||Jonas Valanciunas – 8.6|
|APG||Michael Carter-Williams – 6.3||Kyle Lowry – 7.6|
|SPG||Thaddeus Young – 2.1||Kyle Lowry – 1.6|
|BPG||Jarvis Varnado – 1.3||Amir Johnson – 1.3|