Toronto Raptors

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.

NBA Notes: Norman Powell inks 4-year extension with Raptors

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NBA Notes: Norman Powell inks 4-year extension with Raptors

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors signed guard Norman Powell to a four-year extension Thursday.

The deal begins next season and is reportedly worth $42 million.

The 24-year-old Powell averaged 8.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 76 games last season. The former UCLA player was drafted 46th overall in 2015, and averaged 5.6 points in 49 games as a rookie.

"I'm ready for it," Powell said. "It's what I've worked for. It's what I've fought for my first two years. . . I've worked, I've pushed myself in a totally different way this offseason. I'm preparing myself for a full 82-game season, for increased minutes, taking care of my body, just training and trying to improve. So I'm ready for it. I'm excited to get the season started."

Hornets: Batum to miss 6-8 weeks with elbow injury
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum will miss a minimum of six to eight weeks with a left elbow injury.

The team announced that an MRI on Thursday revealed the nine-year NBA veteran tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his non-dominant arm in the first quarter of Charlotte's preseason road contest against the Pistons on Wednesday.

The Hornets have not decided if Batum will need surgery or will attempt to rehab the injury.

Batum, who signed a five-year, $120 million contract in 2016, was expected to start for Charlotte. Batum's injury means Jeremy Lamb could be thrust into a starting role to open the regular season.

Batum last year became the first Charlotte player to score more than 1,000 points, grab 450 rebounds and hand out over 450 assists in a season.

Wizards: Morris rejoins team after trial, hernia surgery
WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards power forward Markieff Morris had a busy month.

"I'm in a great position. I just had a beautiful young daughter. I just had successful surgery, and of course we beat the case," Morris said Thursday in his return to the team for the first time since his wild ride began.

The most recent milestone occurred Tuesday, when a Phoenix jury acquitted Markieff and his twin brother, Boston Celtics forward Marcus, after a two-week trial on aggravated assault charges. The Morris brothers were accused of being part of a group that beat a former friend in January 2015 outside a high school basketball game.

"Our lawyers did a great job the entire case," Morris said. "We were positive the entire time, confident that we were going to win. Just happy it's behind us and not a distraction anymore" (see full story).

Mavericks: Team leaves Carlisle, veterans at home
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle did not make the trip to Orlando for a preseason game against the Magic due to illness.

Dallas officials said associate head coach Melvin Hunt will stand in for Carlisle on Thursday night.

Carlisle was not alone in not making the trip. Veterans Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel, J.J. Barea, Josh McRoberts and Devin Harris also will not be in Orlando to face the Magic.

The Mavericks (2-0) are coming off a 118-71 home win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. Assistant coach Kaleb Canales also did not make the trip to Orlando so that he can remain in Dallas to work with the veteran players who remained at home.

NBA Notes: Kyle Lowry announces he's staying with Raptors

NBA Notes: Kyle Lowry announces he's staying with Raptors

Kyle Lowry is staying home.

Lowry announced on The Players' Tribune site Sunday that he will re-sign with the Toronto Raptors, adding that it was an easy decision.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that Lowry's deal is worth $100 million over three years. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither Lowry nor the team publicly revealed those details.

The three-time All-Star averaged 22.4 points and 7.0 assists last season for the Raptors, who also struck a deal to retain forward Serge Ibaka earlier Sunday to a $65 million, three-year deal.

Lowry says: "I'm coming back to Toronto because my heart is telling me that it's home."

Raptors: Ibaka reportedly staying in Toronto
A person familiar with the negotiations says Serge Ibaka is staying with the Toronto Raptors, agreeing to terms on a 3-year, $65 million deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be finalized until next week.

Keeping the 6-foot-10 Ibaka was an obvious priority for the Raptors, who are also in talks to retain All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.

Ibaka, 27, was traded to Toronto from Orlando late last season. He averaged 14.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 23 games with the Raptors.

Entering his ninth NBA season, Ibaka has career averages of 12 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Rockets: Nene reportedly agrees to deal
The Houston Rockets and Nene have a contract -- again.

A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Rockets agreed to terms with Nene on a three-year deal worth $11 million. It comes one day after an initial agreement fell apart because it violated rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The person requested anonymity Sunday because a contract cannot be signed until Thursday.

Nene initially agreed to a four-year, $15 million deal. But the deal violated a rule for players who will be 38 during the contract and so Nene became a free agent again.

But Nene's interior presence was critical for the Rockets, who have also agreed to terms with P.J. Tucker to add some toughness to a high-scoring roster.

ESPN first reported the new deal.

Cavaliers: Korver to remain in Cleveland
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to terms with shooter Kyle Korver on a three-year, $22 million contract.

The Cavaliers reached agreement with Korver on Sunday. The person spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because a contract cannot be signed until the moratorium ends on Thursday.

Korver joined the Cavs midway through last season in a trade from Atlanta. The 36-year-old is one of the league's best outside shooters and made it clear he wanted to stay with Cleveland after making it to his first NBA Finals.

Korver led the league in 3-point percentage (45) and averaged 10.8 points in 35 games for the Cavs.

Timberwolves: Free-agent Gibson reportedly agrees to deal
MINNEAPOLIS  -- A person with knowledge of the negotiations says Taj Gibson is reuniting with coach Tom Thibodeau, agreeing on a two-year, $28 million deal to join the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be finalized until the NBA's moratorium ends Thursday.

Gibson has spent the bulk of his career in Chicago, including five seasons under Thibodeau. The Bulls traded him to Oklahoma City late last season.

For his career, Gibson has averaged 9.4 points and 6.3 rebounds. In Minnesota, he'll be a new addition along with another former Bulls teammate -- Jimmy Butler, who was traded to the Timberwolves last month.