76ers

Sixers give away too many gifts as losses pile up

Sixers give away too many gifts as losses pile up

BOX SCORE

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.

Raptors continue to take care of business at home

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USA Today Images

Raptors continue to take care of business at home

TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry scored nine of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, DeMar DeRozan added 21 and the Toronto Raptors beat San Antonio 86-83 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak against the Spurs.

Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 17-3 at home, the second-best home record in the NBA behind San Antonio's mark of 19-2.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Pau Gasol scored 15 points and Patty Mills had 13 as San Antonio lost for the fourth time in six road games. The Spurs are 11-15 away from home.

It had been more than two years since Toronto last beat San Antonio. The Raptors won 97-94 at home on Dec. 9, 2015.

San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili missed his second straight game because of a sore right thigh. Ginobili returned to Texas after the Spurs won at Brooklyn on Wednesday (see full recap).

Beal, Oubre spark Wizards’ win over Pistons
DETROIT -- Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 26 points each, and the Washington Wizards scored 45 points in the third quarter before holding on for a 122-112 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

The Pistons cut a 20-point second-half deficit to four in the fourth quarter, but John Wall made a big 3-pointer to put the Wizards up 107-100. Oubre added a four-point play a few possessions later to push Washington's lead to nine.

Andre Drummond had 14 points, 21 rebounds and eight assists for the Pistons, who have lost four straight.

Both teams were struggling coming into the game. The Wizards lost by 24 at Charlotte on Wednesday, and they fell behind by 15 in the first quarter at Detroit. It was tied at 46 at halftime, though (see full recap).

Nets edge Heat to snap 5-game home skid
NEW YORK -- DeMarre Carroll scored 26 points, Spencer Dinwiddie had 15 and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Miami Heat 101-95 on Friday night.

Brooklyn snapped a five-game losing skid at Barclays Center and a seven-game home losing streak to the Heat.

Caris LeVert and Joe Harris each added 12 points for the Nets. D'Angelo Russell played 14 minutes and went 0-for-5 from the field for Brooklyn in his first action after missing 32 games following left knee surgery.

Hassan Whiteside had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Goran Dragic scored 17 points for the Heat.

LeVert made an acrobatic layup to give the Nets a 95-91 lead with 57.8 seconds remaining and then made a step-back jumper to ice the game at 97-91 (see full recap).

Is a rival upset with Embiid's ASG starter nod?

Is a rival upset with Embiid's ASG starter nod?

While Joel Embiid was sharing his first All-Star nod with his teammates and deciding to move on from his former crush, at least one person wasn’t happy that the Sixers’ center was tabbed as a starter.

Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis feels like he should have garnered that final frontcourt spot in the Eastern Conference.

“Players know,” he said, per the New York Daily News. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

True, Porzingis had more of the players’ support as he finished third in the East in that category compared to Embiid in fourth. 

However, Embiid had the trump card with a pair of third-place finishes in both media and fan voting while Porzingis came in fourth. The fan vote was the main key, as it accounted for 50 percent of the overall tally.

“I feel very blessed to be in this type of position,” Embiid said Thursday. “Thank all the fans out there for the support. It’s been a tough couple of years and I really appreciate it — everybody out there, everybody around me, the whole team, the whole organization, the fans especially, for making this happen. We can only get better from here.”

If Embiid is going to get even better, look out. He’s already averaging 23.9 points (48.7 percent shooting), 11.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 blocks per game this season. Oh yeah, he also has the Sixers with a 21-20 record and sitting in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, Porzingis’ overall numbers have gone down every month this season. He’s currently putting up 23.6 points (43.4 percent shooting), 6.9 boards, 1.2 assists and 2.4 blocks a night. And the Knicks have lost 11 of their last 15 games to fall to 20-25.

“Everybody has their own opinion,” Porzingis said. “Fans are one thing. It is what it is. There are a lot of things I could have done better also. It is what it is.”