With the Sixers’ bench being as thin as it is, they’re not likely to feel bad for a shorthanded opponent.
The Sixers took care of business, beating the undermanned Raptors, 126-101, at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night.
Toronto was without Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas while the Sixers were missing Wilson Chandler.
The win improves the Sixers to 16-3 at home and 22-12 overall.
Here are observations from the win:
• Without Leonard pestering him, Ben Simmons had a huge night. He continues to be aggressive early in games. A common theme seems to be Simmons looking to get to the rim for his own shot and then countering off what the defense presents.
SIMMONS, HOW DID YOU JUST?!— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 23, 2018
He goes in for a tough bucket and the Sixers lead, 79-66. pic.twitter.com/1Epmdkr1fH
What a pass from Simmons!— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 23, 2018
He finds Butler for the jam and the game is locked at 47-47. pic.twitter.com/k1yooP9kb0
Simmons had one of his best all-around games of the season, posting a season-high 26 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists (and only one turnover).
• Greg Monroe trying to guard Joel Embiid went about as well as you’d expect. Monroe had three fouls just 13 seconds into the second quarter, forcing Toronto to go small with Pascal Siakam at the five.
It was pretty clear that Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was going to double-team Embiid on every touch vs. Siakam. Give the big man credit, he handled the doubles as well as he has all season.
OH MY JOEL.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 23, 2018
He big man just isn't being fair as he works in to slam for a pair! Sixers up, 55-54. pic.twitter.com/2Wt2bBUocv
It was yet another dominant first half for Embiid, as the All-Star center posted 23 points. Embiid was again quiet in the second half, scoring just four points. Though the Sixers were able to add to their lead despite Embiid taking just four shots.
• The Sixers clearly weren’t big fans of the officiating crew this evening. Jimmy Butler, Simmons and Embiid were each assessed technical fouls.
Butler’s technical was pretty theatrical. He thought he was fouled on a three-point attempt and fell to the ground because of the contact. Butler didn’t get off the floor for the Sixers’ subsequent defensive possession. He continued to jaw at referee Tyler Ford as the Sixers came back up court, basically begging for the T.
Not to be outdone …
Ben Simmons was so upset about this call that he had to take a seat in the stands. 😂 pic.twitter.com/wFYuRii0on— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 23, 2018
Butler did struggle offensively (12 points on 4 of 10).
• Jonah Bolden came in and gave the Sixers some serious juice. Forced to play the five with Mike Muscala in early foul trouble, Bolden gave the Sixers 25 strong minutes. As soon as he entered the game, he played tough 1-on-1 defense on Monroe, which ended in a block. Then on the other end, Bolden grabbed an offensive rebound and dished it to Simmons for an easy bucket.
Getting caught up in the moment, Bolden found himself open from three and … air-balled it. Much to his credit, he kept plugging away and recorded two more athletic blocks on Kyle Lowry and Danny Green.
Just a compilation of all those wonderful Jonah Bolden blocks.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 23, 2018
The rookie is making a big splash early! pic.twitter.com/Pq4FxpMEbj
With Chandler out, the Sixers needed someone off the bench to step up and Bolden did just that, finishing with four points, nine boards and four blocks.
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