Another third quarter. Another letdown.
The shorthanded Sixers led Toronto by 22 points with 9:09 minutes to play in the quarter and let the streaking Raptors right back in the game. From that point on, the Raptors wrapped up the third on a 32-12 spurt while the Sixers went scoreless for nearly four minutes.
The Raptors won, 114-109.
The Sixers (14-17) have lost four in a row and eight of their last nine, dating back to the Suns’ game.
This was not the opponent to show a window of opportunity. The Raptors (22-8) entered the night on a four-game winning streak. They now have won 11 of their last 12.
Joel Embiid was ruled out after going through his pregame warmups. JJ Redick also was sidelined because of hamstring tightness. Amir Johnson and Jerryd Bayless started in their places.
• DeMar DeRozan dominated the Raptors’ offense from the beginning. He scored 15 points in the first quarter alone, en route to a blockbuster, career-high 45-point performance. DeRozan netted a career-high six treys against the Sixers. His previous season high was just three.
• Dario Saric stepped up in the two starters’ absence. He neared a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Saric was active, coming up with two blocks and two steals.
• Ben Simmons was more aggressive looking for his own shot. The facilitator mixed in jump shots at the encouragement of Brett Brown and drew contact. He finished with 20 points, six rebounds and four assists (below his season average 7.9). Simmons went 2 for 5 from the line.
• The Sixers’ offense slowed nearly the exact same time as the previous game. In Tuesday’s loss to the Kings, they were up 16 with 9:07 remaining in the third. They were outscored 22-13 from that point on in the quarter.
9:09 to play in the third: Sixers 76 - Raptors 54— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) December 22, 2017
3:49 to play in the third: Sixers 78 - Raptors 74
• Reserve guard Delon Wright poured in 12 points during the Raptors’ key third quarter.
• The arena became deafening loud with boos when Simmons was whistled for an offensive foul after a drive against Wright with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter (Sixers down 107-104). The jeers continued on the next possession. Robert Covington was called for a foul trying to swipe the ball from DeRozan, who hit both free throws.
• Speaking of free throws, the Raptors did serious damage at the line. They shot 32 for 35, making up for 30.7 percent of their total points.
• And no, this game wasn’t without turnover woes. On either side actually. Both teams gave up 32 points off turnovers, and both starting point guards (Simmons and Kyle Lowry) committed seven.
• The Sixers and Raptors will face off again in two days when the Sixers travel to Toronto.