The 76ers returned to their home floor Wednesday night and picked up win No. 50 of the campaign (50-26) with an eight-point victory against Dallas. For their next outing, this Friday night at home, the Sixers welcome the Toronto Raptors (38-38).
It is the first time since 2000-01 that the Sixers reached the 50-win mark through the team’s first 76 games.
The Raptors are just 12-24 (.333) on the road this season, the third-lowest winning percentage in the Eastern Conference. They do, however, bring a three-game winning streak to Philadelphia following a 14-point home victory over Miami on Tuesday.
Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes notched a double-double against the Heat with 22 points and a career-high 12 assists without committing a turnover. O.G. Anunoby also scored 22 points, while Pascal Siakam led the team with 26 points.
Siakam averages a team-high 24.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, while Fred VanVleet posts 19.7 points and a team-high 7.0 assists per contest.
The injury report as of Thursday evening included the following players (all Raptors): Otto Porter Jr. (out - left foot surgery), Gary Trent Jr. (questionable - right elbow stiffness), Will Barton (questionable - left ankle sprain), Dalano Banton (questionable - left thumb sprain), Joe Wieskamp (questionable - right hamstring strain).
The season series between the Sixers and Raptors favors Philadelphia, two games to one. The teams split a two-game set in Toronto in late October, then the Sixers won an overtime affair at home on Dec. 19.
The Sixers enter the final matchup against Toronto coming off their 116-108 home win over Dallas on Wednesday. De’Anthony Melton (5-6 3fg) and Georges Niang (4-7 3fg) combined for nine 3-pointers on 13 attempts.
“It’s good,” Joel Embiid (25 points) said of the win. “We’ve been doing it all season. We didn’t start the game the way we should have. We should’ve started it better, but we got back in it. It started on the defensive end. Once we got stops, it just worked.”
The victors netted 25 second-chance points, matching their season-high total in the category. Melton and Paul Reed secured four and three offensive rebounds, respectively. The team swiped three steals within the first five minutes of the second half.
“I think our defense to start the second half was huge,” said Tyrese Maxey. “We got into the ball and tried to force them to take shots we wanted them to take and not shots they wanted to take. That was effective. We got out and ran. Got a couple of easy baskets. Once we settled in, I think it was good. It’s hard to find rhythm again. James [Harden] has been out for four games. [Joel Embiid] missed the last game, so that was our first time playing with each other since we were here the last time. It happens.”
The Sixers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals with a 104-99 win over the Capital City Go-Go (Washington Wizards) on Thursday night. Jaden Springer – currently on assignment from the Sixers – posted 24 points, six rebounds, and three steals in 42 minutes. Two-way contract player Mac McClung scored 20 points alongside Springer in the backcourt. Delaware next plays Sunday.
Friday’s 76ers vs. Raptors game is a 7 p.m. ET start in South Philadelphia.
Wednesday’s Top Performances:
Six 76ers scored in double figures against the Mavericks…
- Joel Embiid: 25 points (game high), nine rebounds
- Tyrese Maxey: 22 points, 4-9 3fg, four assists, two steals
- James Harden: 15 points, 12 assists (game high), three steals (game high)
- De’Anthony Melton: 17 points, 5-6 3fg, six rebounds
- Georges Niang: 14 points, 4-7 3fg, two blocks
- Tobias Harris: 13 points, four rebounds
“Yeah, he balled tonight,” Maxey said of Melton. “He balled tonight. I told him before the game, he was kind of down from the last game. I told him he’ll have a bounce back game. He did good. I take no credit for that, he was just balling. The rebounds he got late in the game offensively, I’m sitting there in the corner looking at him jumping and I’m like, ‘you should’ve just dunked it.’ He was all the way up there. We appreciate him. He’s been great.”
Quote to Note:
Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Jason Kidd, on game planning against Joel Embiid:
“Unfortunately, he is one of the best players in the world. So with the three and then the mid-range, you've got to try to make him put it on the floor, but it's easier said than done.”
Follow Along Friday:
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
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