76ers

Sixers-Raptors observations: Not much life without Joel Embiid in blowout loss

Sixers-Raptors observations: Not much life without Joel Embiid in blowout loss

BOX SCORE

TORONTO — The Air Canada Centre has become a tough place for the Sixers.

Nothing has changed with a new season.

The Raptors defeated the Sixers, 128-94, Saturday night for their 16th win in the past 17 games against the Sixers, including 10 in a row at the Air Canada Centre.

The Sixers have problems beating the Raptors at home as well as away, which pretty well takes care of all the possibilities.

Say this for the Sixers, after falling behind by 17 points during the first quarter, they had the lead down to eight in the second quarter on a pair of free throws by former Raptor Jerryd Bayless. It was 62-49 for Toronto at the half.

Then there was the second half.

The Raptors raced out to a 72-51 lead early in the third quarter, with Serge Ibaka scoring eight of their first 10 points. Kyle Lowry finished the scoring in the third quarter with a three-pointer to increase Toronto’s lead to 102-71.

• Amir Johnson got the start at center with Joel Embiid missing the second half of a back-to-back to rest his left knee. Johnson knows his way around the Air Canada Centre, having played for the Raptors for six seasons before going to the Boston Celtics for the past two seasons. He received a nice cheer during the pregame introductions and then scored the game’s first basket on a dunk.

• Jahlil Okafor took over at center 5:27 into the first quarter and quickly scored to tie the game at 13, but he was out of the game after playing 2:49 after picking up three quick fouls.

• Ben Simmons had his third consecutive double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He also had eight assists. He already had accomplished something never done before in franchise history entering the game against the Raptors. The rookie forward recorded double-doubles in his first two career NBA games against the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics. He is the 11th player in NBA history to do so.

• Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan was listed as questionable for Saturday’s game because of flu symptoms. No such luck for the Sixers, he was in the starting lineup and looked quite well as he pumped in 15 points in the first quarter on 4 for 4 shooting from the field and a telling seven free throws in eight attempts. He finished with a game-high 30 points.

• As if the discrepancy in free throws has not been enough of a problem in the early going for the Sixers, Markelle Fultz missed three of his first four free-throw attempts against the Raptors. Toronto was 24 for 28 from the line in the first half and the Sixers were 12 for 18. Toronto made 31 of 37 foul shots on the game and the Sixers made 22 of 36. 

• Toronto reserve Lucas Nogueira scored on a breakaway dunk during the third quarter, which may redefine garbage time.

• For those who thought the 17 turnovers committed by the Sixers in each of their first two games were bad, what do you think of 20 turnovers Saturday night?

• Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas was restricted to 15 minutes (five points, four rebounds) because of a sprained left ankle. He had a double-double in the team’s opening game win over the Chicago Bulls.

Embiid, Simmons get their fate for ASG starters

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Embiid, Simmons get their fate for ASG starters

BOSTON — Joel Embiid is an All-Star starter.

The Sixers' big man is joined by LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan to represent the Eastern Conference.

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are the Western Conference starters.

These players were selected by fans (50 percent of the votes), current NBA players (25 percent) and a select group of media (25 percent).

Embiid finished third among fans, fourth among players and third among the media for frontcourt guys.

Embiid is averaging 23.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his second NBA season. He has stressed making the playoffs is his main goal.

"I feel like my play is gonna do the talk," Embiid said at shootaround Thursday prior to the Sixers' game against the Celtics. "So if I’m an All-Star starter, that’d be great. But I feel like I have the résumé to be an All-Star. But tonight my focus is about beating a Celtics team that’s 3-0 against us. I don’t want to [be swept in] the series. I want to win tonight." 

Ben Simmons, who had been third among backcourt players in the last voting returns, still could be named a reserve. Head coaches will vote for those players, announced Jan. 23. Simmons is averaging 16.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 dimes. 

"I think both of them are All-Stars in their own right," Brett Brown said of Embiid and Simmons. 

This season, the All-Star teams will be chosen in a draft format of all players instead of East versus West. The top two vote getters from each conference, James and Curry, will be team captains to select the squads. The rosters will be announced Jan. 25. 

The 2018 All-Star Game will be played Feb. 18 in Los Angeles.

Video proof that Embiid, Saric are soccer prodigies

Video proof that Embiid, Saric are soccer prodigies

BOSTON — Noise of energy and excitement emanated from a small area just off the basketball court at Sixers shootaround Thursday morning.

Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot were in a circle with a member of the staff enthusiastically playing soccer. 

Well, kind of. They were using a basketball.

Watch the video above to see the trio of soccer fans show off their skills. 

Just last week they met with several European football players during the team's trip to London, including Thierry Henry.

@frenchtouch20 meets his childhood idol @thierryhenry!

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My guys @thibautcourtois @hazardeden_10 #Blues #TheProcess #Blues

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Meet up with some @spursofficial today after practice!

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