Game Preview: Raptors at 76ers
Toronto Raptors (29-12) @ Philadelphia 76ers (19-20)
When: Monday, January 15th, 1 P.M. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast info: TSN, TSN1050
The Raptors last saw the Sixers on Dec. 23, rolling to a 102-86 victory on the Air Canada Centre floor. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 29 points while Serge Ibaka added 17 as Toronto blew the game open in the second and third quarters, outscoring Philadelphia 54-36 to take an 81-63 lead into the fourth quarter. Joel Embiid returned to the court after missing the previous three games, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds for the Sixers, who were led offensively by Dario Saric's 17 points. DeRozan got Toronto to set tone early and then helped to put the game away later, scoring 16 of his 29 in the third quarter.
LEADING INTO THIS AFTERNOON'S GAME
Injury report: For Toronto, Kyle Lowry is listed as questionable with a bruised tailbone and Alfonzo McKinnie is listed as questionable with a swollen right knee. Philadelphia's injury list is currently TBD.
Bouncing back: The Raptors are eager to get back on track after dropping a tight 127-125 thriller to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. In a week that featured back-to-back games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Warriors, Raptors fans have to be happy with how their team fared: A 34-point win against the Cavaliers, and that two-point loss to the Warriors, giving the reigning champs all they could handle in a wild rollercoaster of a game.
MLK Matinee: Monday's game in Philadelphia will be part of the NBA's 11-game slate in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This will be Toronto's fourth and final meeting with the 76ers this season, with the Raptors holding a 3-0 record in those games.
Top 10: The Raptors are now third in the NBA in points, averaging 112.4 points per game, while also ranking ninth in fewest points allowed (104.3) and seventh in opponent field goal percentage (45.2 percent). This makes Toronto the only team in the league to be ranked among the top-10 teams both offensively and defensively. Toronto is averaging 129 points over their previous two games.
Club 40: Though the Raptors fell to the Warriors on Saturday, it was another phenomenal effort from DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors guard scored 42 points, marking the 12th time he has passed the 40-point plateau in his career. Only Vince Carter (14) has more 40-point games as a Raptor. On the season, DeRozan is averaging 25.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. In three victories against the Sixers, he is averaging 34.7 points on 57 percent shooting.
Unreserved reserves: After coming up huge in Toronto's Thursday victory against the Cavaliers, the Raptors bench was fantastic again in the second half against the Warriors on Saturday. With Toronto trailing 81-54 at the half, the starters trimmed Golden State's lead to 108-89 through three quarters. In the fourth, Dwane Casey stuck with his reserves the whole way through, save for subbing in DeMar DeRozan midway through. For the second straight game, Fred VanVleet led the bench in scoring. He is averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists over his last two games.