The Toronto Raptors fall to 0-3 on the 2020-21 season after suffering a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, who are now 3-1 on the year.
Sixers All-Star centre Joel Embiid led the way with a game-high 29 points and 15 rebounds while Tobias Harris (26 points, 11 rebounds) and Ben Simmons (11 points, 13 rebounds) each recorded a double-double of their own.
Toronto was led by 24 points from Kyle Lowry while OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam added 20 points apiece.
Here are some takeaways from the game…
For the first time since 2005…
The Toronto Raptors are off to an 0-3 start to the season for the first time since the 2005-06 NBA season.
OG Anunoby was eight, Kyle Lowry was in his final season at Villanova and the Raptors were led in scoring by a third-year player named Chris Bosh. That team would go on to finish 27-55 but one could safely assume that this team will turn things around in a much better manner.
No answer for Embiid
The absence of Marc Gasol was really felt in this one.
Toronto used its trio of centres in an attempt to make things more difficult for Joel Embiid but to no avail. Philly's All-Star big man lived at the line, finishing with a game-high 29 points and 16 rebounds thanks largely in part to his shooting 14-for-16 from the charity stripe.
Defensive schemes resulted in Embiid shooting a less-than-efficient 7-for-17 from the field but five of his misses came from beyond the arc. Embiid finished the night shooting 6-for-12 on his non-3-point attempts. He also added an assist on a dagger hit by Seth Curry.
Bang. @sdotcurry | #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/2RsC1N30Le- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 30, 2020
Speaking of the charity stripe, Toronto entered the night shooting a league-worst 13.5 free throw attempts per game.
That trend continued on Tuesday.
While Embiid took 16 free throws himself the Raptors shot just 12-for-14 from the free-throw line as a team. The Sixers? They shot 28-for-33 from the line for the game. That 16-point gap made a big difference in the outcome of this one.
Philly's double-double trio
It wasn't just Embiid that dominated the glass.
Tobias Harris, who was a team-best plus-21 in the box score, almost quietly finished with a very efficient 26-point, 11-rebound double-double on .550/.400/1.000 shooting splits. He also added three assists, two steals and two blocks in 38 minutes of action.
Ben Simmons shot just 3-for-11 from the field but finished the game with 11 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists while making life difficult for Pascal Siakam on the defensive end. Simmons is making his case for yet another All-Defensive Team selection.
North Philly's Finest
Back home, Kyle Lowry tends to shine the brightest.
The Philadelphia native finished with a team-high 24 points, nine assists and eight rebounds and was a team-best plus-14 in the box score. He also added a pass that could earn him a second look from his beloved Philadelphia Eagles.
To: @Eagles- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 30, 2020
Sincerely, @Klow7 pic.twitter.com/KBxcuICjm6
It was far from enough, however, as the Raptors were outscored by 21 points in non-Lowry minutes, an issue that will need to be fixed moving forward.
Have a game, OG
It was a rough start to the season for OG Anunoby, who shot 2-for-10 from beyond the arc in Toronto's first two games.
He broke out of his slump against the Sixers.
Anunoby finished with 20 points, shooting 7-for-11 from the field and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. He also added six rebounds, five steals and two assists, all things you should expect to see more of from the 23-year-old as time goes on.
A switch in the Raptors rotation
Coming into this game, Stanley Johnson had seen just 1:16 of action and Alex Len had yet to make his Raptors debut.
Along with Norman Powell, the above two were the first off of the bench against the Sixers.
Both Len and Johnson provided quality minutes, with Johnson also providing one of the night's best highlights when he flew in for a putback jam.
STANIMAL OUTTA NOWHERE pic.twitter.com/NksW126MUD- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 30, 2020
Johnson would go on to finish the game with seven points, eight rebounds and two steals in 22 solid minutes off the bench. It didn't result in a win but it's encouraging that Johnson had such good minutes, showing that Nurse can rely on him in later situations this season.
Both teams are set to spend New Year's Eve in Florida.
The Raptors return to Tampa to host the New York Knicks while the Sixers will head to Orlando where they will face a familiar face in Markelle Fultz and the Magic.
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