The last time these two teams played each other, “the shot” happened. It was the most iconic moment in Toronto Raptors history. If you’ve been living under a rock since May 13 of 2019, here’s what I’m talking about.
Fast forward to November 25th, 2019, the Toronto Raptors out-duel the Philadelphia 76ers 101-96 for a signature win in this early season. Pascal Siakam was his usual self with 25 points and 7 rebounds, including the game-winning shot as well as the game-sealing steal. Fred Vanvleet, A.K.A. “Steady Freddy”, poured in 24 points to go along with 8 assists and 2 steals. However, the biggest storyline in this one was Joel Embiid, who was held to 0 points by the suffocating Toronto defense. The Sixers big man is a rare talent. He is probably one of the most talented bigs in the game. However, when his shot isn’t falling, he lets the rest of his game go with it. Embiid was awful tonight and just couldn’t get anything going. You think Marc Gasol’s in his head just a little bit?
Raptors are Undefeated in Scotiabank Arena.
Tonight’s win gives Toronto a 7-0 record at home as well as a tie for an NBA record. They have won 32 consecutive home games against division opponents. The streak dates back all the way to 2015 with their last home-divisional loss coming at the hands of the New York Knicks. The North Side was recently excluded from ESPN’s top 10 power rankings yet their 4 losses have been against teams above .500 and on the road. They now stand at 12-4 and are surging without their leader, Kyle Lowry, and veteran big man Serge Ibaka in the lineup.
How good has RHJ been in the absence of some key players for the Raptors? The answer, very good. Excluding his first appearance in which he only played 3 minutes and 59 seconds, Hollis-Jefferson is scoring 10.8 points per contest on 58% shooting. In this 8-game span, he is averaging just a hair under 7 rebounds per game. 3.25 of those were offensive rebounds. The thing about him is that his usage rate is staggeringly low, yet he’s so efficient. We’ve never seen this level of finishing around the basket from him but it’s a welcomed site for Toronto. Not a single play gets called for him. He benefits solely off of his hustle.
Ben Simmons is Not Aggressive Enough.
The Aussie was one rebound shy of a triple double yesterday. To me, he was a total non-factor. The 76ers point guard finished the game with 7 turnovers. Philadelphia is my pick to come out of the East this year. Their length make them one of the scariest defensive teams. They can switch 1 through 5 and there won’t be any drop off whatsoever. In order for this team to reach the heights they are capable of reaching, Ben Simmons is going to have to score the ball with more frequency. There were times against the Raptors in which he wasn’t even thinking of scoring. Simmons had a layup and passed the ball to the corner for a 3. When you’re a 6’10 athletic specimen, you must finish with authority when given the opportunity to do so.
This was a signature win for the shorthanded Toronto Raptors, and a bad loss for the loaded Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto now sits 3rd in the Eastern Conference.
Featured Photo Credit: clutchpoints.com
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