TORONTO — The Sixers stayed within striking distance, but by the time the third quarter was over Saturday night, a familiar story was unfolding against the Toronto Raptors.
The Sixers crept to within four points during the quarter, but then the Raptors took control and led by 18 points entering the fourth quarter.
DeMar DeRozan, who had a career-best 45 points against the Sixers on Thursday, came back with 29 Saturday in Toronto’s 102-86 victory.
The Raptors are 18-1 against the Sixers since the 2013-2014 season, with two of the wins coming this week.
Toronto has won six in a row and 12 of their last 13, while the Sixers have lost five in a row and nine of 10.
Joel Embiid, who had a fast start, returned the Sixers' lineup, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes. Dario Saric led the Sixers with 17 points.
• Embiid (back tightness) started after being listed as questionable up until game time and was loose enough to score the team’s first eight points of the game, including a three-pointer. He also missed one of two free throws, had three rebounds and a blocked shot during his opening six-minute spree. After Embiid took the Sixers' first six shots, Ben Simmons took the next two, hitting one.
• JJ Redick (right hamstring tightness) missed his second consecutive game Saturday.
• Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot closed out the first-quarter scoring with a three-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 27 apiece.
• Neither team had a second-chance point in the first quarter. The Sixers did not even have a second-chance opportunity, while the Raptors were 0 for 3 on their second-chance efforts.
• Sixers coach Brett Brown was tabbed with a technical foul with 4:21 to play in the first half and DeMar DeRozan converted from the foul line to give Toronto a 44-38 lead.
• The process is a road littered with turnovers, it seems. The Sixers, entering the game with a league-leading average of 18 turnovers, had 14 in the first half, leading to 21 Toronto points. The Sixers finished with 23 turnovers.
• The Raptors led by 13 early in the third quarter, but the Sixers whittled that deficit to four with 6:15 left in the quarter on a free throw by Dario Saric. Then the Raptors got busy, with DeRozan hitting a couple of three-pointers. Delon Wright making a driving layup and by the time the surge was over, Toronto led 81-63 after three quarters.
• Toronto’s Serge Ibaka made an impressive dunk late in the game to give the Raptors a 16-point lead, and a parade of reserves came on. It was game over. The Sixers, however, did outscore Toronto 23-21 in the fourth quarter.
• The Sixers will visit the Knicks on Monday, a noon start on Christmas Day.