76ers Look to Even Toronto Series
The 76ers (20-11) have a quick bounce-back opportunity Tuesday in Tampa, looking to even their two-game set with the Toronto Raptors (16-15) after falling Sunday, 110-103.
Sunday’s meeting was a back-and-forth affair, with the Raptors ultimately taking a decisive 27-19 advantage in the fourth quarter.
After missing two games (illness) Ben Simmons came back strong, finishing with a team-high 28 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and a steal.
Joel Embiid totalled 25 points, 17 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks - his 14th consecutive outing with 25 points or more.
Embiid praised Simmons’ aggressive return postgame:
“[Ben has] been good. We need him to be aggressive. He’s been doing a great job. As a team, we’ve been moving the ball, sharing the ball. That’s the way we need to play.”
Simmons and Embiid each got to the line 14 times, Embiid making 12 and Simmons making 10 of his foul shots.
Doc Rivers has been pleased with Simmons’ improvement from the line. Simmons, a 60.3% career free throw shooter, has hit 73.5% of his foul shots in his last 10 games, and 79.5% in his last four games.
“I love it,” Rivers said Sunday postgame. “He’s aggressive, he’s getting to the basket, he’s making plays. He’s forcing double-teams with his speed.”
“Our goal before the year was to see if he could get to the foul line 10 times a night, and he did that.”
Embiid faced a barrage of double-teams once again Sunday, and Simmons offered Embiid props for his continued improvement handling those doubles.
“He played well overall. He moved the ball well, he rebounded well. The more he’s able to facilitate like that, he’s going to be incredible. He’s such a great player already.”
Seeking a successful Tuesday, Embiid believes balance is key:
“You can’t get too high, can’t get too low.”
Tuesday’s rematch tips at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Toronto’s balanced performance Sunday featured five Raptors finishing in double figures, led by Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet’s 23 points apiece.
Chris Boucher led the Raptors’ bench with 17 points, shooting 6-for-8 from the field.
Kyle Lowry (left thumb sprain) missed Sunday’s game, and is questionable for Tuesday’s rematch as of Monday evening.
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