Game Preview: Raptors vs. 76ers
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
Philadelphia 76ers (0-2) @ Toronto Raptors (1-0)
When: Oct. 21, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: SN1, TSN 1050
The Raptors recorded a 113-105 win against the Sixers in April during the final meeting between the two teams last season. The victory, the ninth straight for Toronto on its home floor, featured DeMar DeRozan serving as facilitator as he finished with 17 points and nine assists. Kyle Lowry missed the game as he rehabbed from wrist surgery, while Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington were all missing in action for Philadelphia. DeRozan had plenty of help on the offensive end as six Raptors players reached double figures. Serge Ibaka led all scorers with 24 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 14 points and eight rebounds.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT
Embiid expected to rest: The Sixers come to Toronto following a 102-92 home loss against the Boston Celtics. Sixers head coach Brett Brown confirmed to Philadelphia media after the loss that sophomore stud Joel Embiid would not play on Saturday against the Raptors.
Familiar faces: Though he hasn't worn a Raptors uniform since the 2014-15 season, the return of Amir Johnson is always a welcomed one for Raptors fans. One of the teams most beloved former players, Johnson signed with the Sixers after spending the previous two years with the Boston Celtics.
Last one before hitting the road: Saturday's game will be the last home game for the Raptors in two weeks. The team will head out on its longest road trip of the season on Sunday, embarking on a six-game West Coast swing that will keep them away from the ACC until their next home game on Nov. 5 against the Washington Wizards. The team will face the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz before returning home so look for Toronto to make the most of this Saturdaynight home game.
Early-season grind: While the Raptors have that six-game road trip beginning in the first week of the season, the scheduling gods didn't go much easier on Philadelphia. The 76ers comes to Toronto on a back-to-back and the contest against the Raptors will be their third game in four nights. Though the Sixers are a young team, tired legs could come into play on Saturday.
C.J. Miles made a quick impression in his regular season Raptors debut when he drilled six three-pointers in Toronto's victory against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
OG already: After the Raptors selected rookie OG Anunoby in the NBA draft, it was expected he would miss the start of the season as he rehabbed his way back from ACL surgery. Anunoby proved he was ready to return to the court during preseason and hasn't looked back. He made his NBA debut in the team's home opener, making his impact felt almost immediately as he scored his first NBA points on a dunk shortly after entering the game. Anunoby scored nine points in his debut, prompting C.J. Miles to tell the media it was a much better debut than his own first game, 13 years ago.
PRO-LINE WINNING MATCHUP
Philadelphia's first two games showed two very different results on the offensive end of the floor. In their season opener, a 120-115 loss against the Washington Wizards, the Sixers were 15-for-35 (43 percent) from the three-point line and shot 46 percent in the game. In a 102-92 loss against the Boston Celtics, they struggled to get points on the board late as they were outscored 33-20 in the fourth quarter. The Sixers were held to a 38 percent shooting in the game, including a 10-for-32 (31 percent) performance from beyond the arc. Thanks to the offseason acquisition of J.J. Redick, along with returnees Jerryd Bayless and Robert Covington, the Sixers have multiple threats from beyond the arc. After holding an undermanned Bulls team to 42 percent shooting on Thursday, the Raptors defence will be looking to eliminate open looks from deep on Saturday to keep Philly's shooters from getting on a roll.