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April 9, 2014 | Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada

by Max Rappaport, Sixers.com
Posted: April 9, 2014

TORONTO ––Brett Brown said before Wednesday’s game that his primary focus is to make sure his team closes out the final week of the season with heads held high, continuing to fight and continuing to improve every night. 

Against the Raptors, the Sixers did just that, going blow for blow with the Atlantic Division leading Raptors through the majority of the game. In the end, an efficient Toronto attack prevailed, with the Sixers falling 125-114 on the road. 

The Sixers shot 44-of-85 from the floor (51.8 FG%), 8-of-21 from beyond the arc (38.1 3FG%), and 18-of-21 from the free-throw line (85.7 FT%), but a similarly impressive outing by the Raptors – coupled with advantages from both three-point range (36-24) and the charity stripe (31-18) – made the difference.

“I think for the most part we went out there and played a solid game,” said Thaddeus Young, tipping his hat to the Raptors. “They’re a good team – a playoff-contending team, third in the East; they have proven it day in and day out. They have a lot of key guys that can make shots and score the basketball. Tonight, it was Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas.”

Lowry finished with 29 points (9/19 FG), eight assists, and five rebounds, and Valanciunas had a career-high 26 points (10/14 FG) to go along with 12 rebounds and a pair of blocks. 

For the Sixers, rookie Michael Carter-Williams led the way, falling two assists and one rebound shy of his third career triple-double – 19 points (7/12 FG), nine rebounds, and eight assists. Henry Sims added 22 points and eight rebounds, shooting 10-of-15 from the floor, and Thaddeus Young recovered from a 1-for-7 first-half shooting performance to finish with 16 points on 6-of-17 from the field. 

Carter-Williams said after the game that he can feel himself becoming more comfortable as the season winds down, and it’s shown in his play. Through four games in the month of April, he’s averaged 19.3 points on 55.8% shooting to go along with 7.0 assists and 6.8 rebounds with just 1.3 turnovers per contest.

“I’m trying to learn throughout the season,” he said. “I think I have improved and so has the team. I’ve tried to be more of a leader and be more assertive – play calling and being a leader.”

The Sixers return to action Friday night against the Grizzlies in Memphis at 8pm (EST).