The Raptors overcame a fearsome Philadelphia team 101-96 in one of the most exciting games this season. This was the first meeting between the teams since the legendary Game 7 in the Conference Semifinals last year when Kawhi Leonard made “The Shot.”

Pascal Siakam after dunking at the buzzer

This was a tightly contested battle from beginning to end with neither team holding a lead greater than eight points. Coach Nick Nurse went to his patented shorter rotation in this game using eight players and every Raptor showcased the excellent team play and hustle that has become Toronto’s staple this season . Pascal Siakam shined once again as he had a team-high 25 points while also grabbing 7 rebounds.

Shooting Struggles

The team’s production came despite their struggles from behind the arc and at the free throw line. The Raptors shoot a league leading 39.3% from distance and rank third in free throw percentage at 81.9 on the season. Against Philadelphia they shot a pedestrian 32% from three and an abysmal 64% from the charity stripe. The Raptors have trended downwards from behind the arc as they’ve shot a combined 33.7% over the last 3 games. This percentage would find them ranked twenty-fifth league wide. They’ve turned those 3 contests into wins but it is a trend that has to change. The Raptors are at their best when the floor is spaced out. This allows their elite playmakers to operate from the inside and find their elite shooters.

The Hustle Men

The Raptors created their offence in more creative ways. They turned their effort and hustle on the defensive end into offence and hustled relentlessly for second chance opportunities. Toronto was able to capitalize efficiently as their 8 offensive rebounds lead to 11 second chance points. Comparatively the 76ers grabbed 14 offensive rebounds but only produced 7 second chance points. The Raptors also turned Philadelphia’s 16 turnovers into 13 fast break points whereas the 76ers only created 7 fast break points in the contest. This hustle has been a staple of this season’s Raptors squad and signature aspects of players like Terence Davis and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who continue to improve and impress night in and night out.

Raptors Chris Boucher and Marc Gasol deny Joel Embiid as he goes to the rim

Raptors Continue To Deny Stars

The 76ers were lead by Josh Richardson’s 25 points, Tobias Harris’ 18 points and Ben Simmons’ near triple double as he produced 10 points, 9 rebounds and 14 assists. The Raptors held Joel Embiid to an unfathomable scoreless performance in the contest. This is the first time Embiid has been held scoreless in his NBA career but he’s just another star the Raptors have smothered. ‘The Process’ missed all 11 of his shots and he even missed all 3 of his free throw attempts as he searched for any answers against Marc Gasol and the Raptors’ defensive schemes. This lead to Toronto absolutely dominating in points in the paint as they scored 44 points in that area as opposed to Philadelphia’s 28.

The Raptors look to carry their momentum and extend their win streak to 5 games against RJ Barrett and a struggling New York Knicks team. With a win Toronto will improve to 33 consecutive regular-season home wins against teams in their division. A record previously held by the ‘Hampton 5’ Golden State Warriors and the Stockton lead Utah Jazz at 32 games. Tune in on Wednesday night at 7:30 PM/EST to see them go for history.