Game Preview: Raptors vs Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers (17-8) @ Toronto Raptors (20-5)
When: Wednesday, December 5, 8 P.M. ET
Where: Scotiabank Arena
Leading into tonight’s game:
Injury Report: For the Raptors, Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation) is out. For the Sixers, Markelle Fultz (shoulder consultation), Justin Patton (right foot surgery), and Zhaire Smith (Jones fracture, left foot) are out.
Giant of Africa: Wednesday’s game will be the fifth consecutive year that Giants of Africa — the not-for-profit founded by Masai Ujiri — will honour late South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela on the anniversary of his passing. In addition to a gala that was held Tuesday evening, a mentorship event and mini-basketball camp will take place on Wednesday and Mandela’s legacy will be celebrated during the game, with a post-game reception following as well.
Double dose: Wednesday will provide the rare basketball double-header at Scotiabank Arena. While the Raptors will face the Sixers at 8 P.M. ET, Raptors 905 will kick off the day at 11 A.M. with a game against the Iowa Wolves. The 905 are 9-3 on the season and have won four straight games. The league announced on Tuesday that Chris Boucher was named the G League Player of the Month after averaging a ridiculous 29.6 points, 12.1 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game.
League Recognition: Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for games played in October and November. Toronto was an NBA-best 19-4 over that span as the team set a franchise record for wins in November (12). The league also announced that Kawhi Leonard was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Nov. 26 - Dec. 2 as his 29.3 points and 9.0 rebounds helped lead Toronto to a 3-0 record during the week. This is the fifth time Leonard has earned this honour.
Bouncing back: The Raptors look to begin a new winning streak on Wednesday after having their season-high eight-game winning streak snapped by the Denver Nuggets on Monday. Denver escaped Toronto with a 106-103 road win despite a strong push from Toronto in an up-and-down fourth quarter. Wednesday’s game will be Toronto’s second of four meetings with Philadelphia this season. The team previously earned a 129-112 victory against the Sixers at Scotiabank Arena behind a 31-point effort from Kawhi Leonard and a 20-point, 13-assist double-double from Kyle Lowry. Toronto has won its last 12 home games against the 76ers as well as the season series the past five years. The two teams will meet again in December, with Toronto heading to Philadelphia in its final game before the Christmas break on Dec. 22.
Assist man: Kyle Lowry continues to lead the league in assists with 10.3 dimes per game. He is the only player to average double-digit assists and his efforts have allowed him to tie Damon Stoudamire’s record for most consecutive games leading the team outright in assists (22 straight games). Stoudamire set the record during the team’s inaugural season (1995-96). In addition to this team record, Lowry's next double-double will also be his 100th in a Raptors uniform. On the season, Lowry is averaging 15.0 points, 10.3 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, and leads the Raptors with 11 double-doubles in 24 games played.