Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Records: Raptors (25-9); 76ers (21-12)
Where to Watch
Date: Saturday, Dec. 22
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Fresh off of a wire-to-wire win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Toronto Raptors travel to Philadelphia on Saturday to take on the 76ers.
The Raptors have already played the 76ers twice this season, winning both games by double figures. Kawhi Leonard stole the show with 31 points in their Oct. 30 win and 36 points in their Dec. 5 win.
Toronto will have to get it done without Leonard on Saturday, however, as he continues to sit out one half of a back-to-back.
That could be good news for Ben Simmons, who has struggled against the Raptors this season. In the first matchup between the two teams, Simmons turned the ball over 11 times, many coming when Leonard was guarding him.
The reigning Rookie of the Year wasn't much better in their second matchup, finishing the game with seven turnovers.
Simmons wasn't the only Sixer to turn the ball over at a high rate in those games. In the first meeting, Amir Johnson committed four turnovers in 12 minutes off the bench. In the second, T.J. McConnell had five in 23 minutes off the bench.
The Raptors made the 76ers pay for being careless with the ball, outscoring Philadelphia 56-33 in points off of turnovers over the two contests.
In addition to Leonard, the Raptors could be without Kyle Lowry, Danny Green and Serge Ibaka on Saturday. Nick Nurse said after the Cavaliers game that there's a "chance" Lowry and Green play, and he didn't comment on Ibaka, who has sat out two straight games with a knee injury.
In none of them are able to go, look for Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam to make the most of the opportunity. VanVleet has been playing well as a starter this season, Anunoby tied his career-high with 21 points against the Cavaliers on Friday and Siakam continues to be stabilizing force on both ends of the court for the Raptors.
Since acquiring Jimmy Butler, the 76ers rank behind only six teams - one being the Raptors - in net rating. They have the league's third-best offence and the 18th-ranked defence over the last six weeks.
The 76ers are 12-4 in the games Butler has played over that period.
Butler is averaging 18.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in a 76ers uniform. Joel Embiid has seen his scoring take a hit with Butler on the team, but he's still leading the way with 24.7 points and 13.1 rebounds in his last 17 games.
With injuries to Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard, Fred VanVleet has started in eight games for the Raptors this season. He's averaging 13.1 points, 5.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game as a starter compared to 8.7 points, 4.0 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game as a reserve.
VanVleet isn't far removed from dishing out a career-best 14 assists against the LA Clippers and he's coming off of an impressive all-around performance against the Cavaliers on Friday.
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 5
Score: Raptors 113, 76ers 102
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard - 36 points, nine rebounds, five steals, one assist
76ers: Jimmy Butler - 38 points, 10 rebounds, one steal, one block