Game Rap: Raptors 113, Sixers 105
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Jakob Poeltl threw down a dunk courtesy of a Delon Wright assist to give the Raptors an eight-point lead with 13 seconds remaining. In addition to picking up a 113-105 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Raptors also got to rest their starters for much of the fourth quarter as the reserves held the lead and closed out Toronto’s 47th win of the season.
Shortly before game time the team announced that P.J. Tucker would not be suiting up against the Sixers because of a sore left knee. Toronto’s starting five was DeMarre Carroll, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan and Cory Joseph. After the game, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said that Tucker is going to be fine and was just sore.
Both teams got off to a hot-shooting start on Sunday. While the Raptors shot slightly better than the Sixers in the opening quarter — Toronto connected on 52 percent of its field goals compared to Philadelphia’s 50 percent — they trailed the Sixers by a point after the opening 12 minutes. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot led Philadelphia with 11 points on 4-for-5 field goals while Serge Ibaka led the Raptors with eight points and four blocks.
BUILDING A LEAD
Toronto continued to shoot well from the floor in the second quarter, while the Sixers followed up a 52 percent first quarter with 29 percent shooting in the second. The Sixers shot just 5-for-17 in the second as the Raptors made 13-of-21 field goals, outscoring Philadelphia 31-20 in the quarter. Serge ibaka continued to build on his strong start, again leading Toronto offensively, with 10 points in the quarter as he made all four of his field goal attempts to help Toronto build a 10-point halftime advantage. Ibaka’s 18 points in the first half led all scorers, while DeMar DeRozan’s eight assists were also a game-high.
KEEPING THE PACE
Philadelphia came out of the locker room fired up after halftime, managing to shake off the second quarter shooting slump to shoot 50 percent in the third. In a reverse of the first quarter, it was Toronto to shoot 52 percent in the third as the two teams each scored 27 points to leave the Raptors lead at 10 points heading into the fourth. Jonas Valanciunas had eight points and DeMar DeRozan added 11 as he played the entire quarter. The Sixers were led by Dario Saric’s 10 points after he went 0-for-6 from the floor in the first half.
CLOSING IT OUT
The Raptors started the fourth quarter with a reserves lineup and a 10-point lead. Aside from Cory Joseph checking in midway through the quarter for a 3:42 minute stint, Toronto’s starters were able to rest for the entire fourth as the bench not only held the lead but extended it to 17 before closing out the eight-point victory. Jakob Poeltl led Toronto offensively in the fourth with eight points off the bench while Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet each added seven. The Sixers outscored the Raptors 29-27 in the quarter, but with a 10-point deficit after three, needed stops that didn’t come as Toronto shot 50 percent from the floor in the fourth.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Serge Ibaka missed his first five field goals of the game, but his teammates continued to look for him and it paid off as he made 11 of his next 12 attempts. Despite playing just 28 minutes, and resting the entire fourth, Ibaka led all scorers with a game-high 24 points. He shot 11-for-17 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line while adding six rebounds a steal and six blocked shots.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan continued his run of finding ways to change the game beyond putting points on the board. Although he scored 17 points on 6-for-11 field goals, DeRozan also led the team with nine assists in 31 minutes as he also sat for the entire fourth quarter. DeRozan was also 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Cory Joseph also had a solid all-around game, finishing with nine points, five rebounds, six assists and a steal as the Raptors were a +15 in his 32 minutes.
THAT'S A RAP…
“He’s one of those guys that’s a threat from wherever he is, mid-range, there-point shot. I thought once he started making shots he really got us going. They start sending an extra body to DeMar, somebody’s open and now we’ve got another guy when Kyle comes back, you’ve got another shooter over there, so I think at that time, teams are going to have to pick their poison on how they want to guard DeMar DeRozan.”
- Dwane Casey on the impact of Serge Ibaka
BY THE #'S
58... Points in the paint for the Raptors, 42 for the Sixers.
21... Turnovers for the Sixers leading to 29 points scored for the Raptors. Toronto turned the ball over 15 times leading to 25 points scored by Philadelphia.
19... Just 19 attempts from three for the Raptors who made six (32 percent). The Sixers took 36 attempts from deep, making 11 (31 percent).
22... Second chance points for Toronto, 15 for Philadelphia.
54... Percent field goals for the Raptors, 45 percent for the Sixers.
THEY SAID IT…
“Yes, it’s a group of great guys, they’re really unselfish guys here. Nobody really cares about nothing just everything about the team, playing basketball. They just make everything easy for me since Day 1. Sometimes it’s tough when you come to a team that has been together for a long time. It takes [time] for them to give you your spots, you know? But these guys, they really don’t care. They understand we’re here for one thing, for one reason: to win”
- Serge Ibaka one why it’s been such an easy adjustment for him since being traded to Toronto
“Yeah you definitely got to appreciate it. Being able to build a lead and get some rest is huge. It’s been a long season for us. A couple of guys are banged up and what not, so whenever you can get that rest it’s definitely beneficial for us.”
- Cory Joseph on getting to rest in the fourth quarter of a win
“I thought we fought the mental approach at this time of the season of not going 100 percent or being totally focused in a game like tonight. I thought we fought through that, Serge Ibaka got in and got us going a little bit, we fought thorough that mental block you get at this time of the year.”
- Dwane Casey on finishing strong and holding the lead
“It’s big-time, you know? He told me earlier, one time I passed him the ball and told him to finish it and he passed it back to me and asked my why I didn’t finish it? ‘You’re hot, keep shooting.’ When you here something like that from the best player on your team it gives you a lot of confidence.”
- Serge Ibaka on DeMar DeRozan encouraging him to shoot when he’s got an open look
The Raptors head to Indiana where they will take on the Pacers for the fourth time this season on Tuesday at 7 P.M. ET.