76ers fall to Toronto for third time this season: Raptors’ Lowry and Leonard too much for Philadelphia

Connor McKay, Sports Editor

Despite a strong effort by Joel Embiid, his Philadelphia 76ers were not able to stand up to the offensive power of Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry as this marked the third loss to the Toronto Raptors this season for Philadelphia.

Head Coach for Philadelphia Brett Brown hoped to lead his 76ers to victory in a critical game for postseason success against Toronto’s Raptors this past Tuesday night. The 76ers were coming off a four game road streak and were hoping the home field advantage paired with the infamous Philadelphia crowds would give them the edge they needed.

The game began with Philadelphia taking an early four point lead, but the Raptors wasted no time tying up the game for a rebuttal. Kawhi Leonard started the game strong by giving the Raptors a three point lead at the 8:51 minute mark, and was an omen for how the rest of the game would go for Philadelphia.While both teams found themselves scoring with the score close, the Raptors were using quicker, smarter, passes to break down the 76ers defense.

Pressure was starting to take its toll on Philadelphia as the lead by Toronto expanded, and rushed shots were giving further momentum for the Raptors. The Raptors found themselves up by six, and had been on an 8-0 run in the last 1:43 minutes of play. Efforts by Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons were keeping the 76ers alive and an aggressive playstyle by both teams were sending players to the line.

In three point shots, Philadelphia was 2/4 while Toronto was 3/7 and for rebounds the 76ers had an advantage of 10 compared to four. A major mistake for Philadelphia was sending so many Raptors to the free throw line, who shot 11/11 this quarter. Raptors ended the first quarter leading 40-28.

The second quarter saw the Raptors keeping up their quick and effective style of offense which saw a lot of driving shots straight to the bucket. With 9:53 left in the second, the score was 44-32 and ripe for Philadelphia to make its move. The 76ers struggled to make shots and combined with Toronto controlling the ball better, the lead once again expanded beyond Philly’s reach.

Lowry and Leonard continued their performance as a dynamic duo and a huge three pointer with only four minutes left sent a huge momentum shock throughout the Wells Fargo Center. Free throws continued to be a thorn in Philadelphia’s side as Leonard repeatedly found himself at the line and was shooting impeccably. The halftime beater buzzed with a score of 72-55. To add insult to injury, 72 was the highest number of points scored in a half by anyone this season.

The third quarter saw new life in the 76ers, and had Embiid as the star of the show with his usual dramatic power on offense. With only 6:39 left in the quarter, Philadelphia had managed to get the game within 10 points. The 76ers again found itself making silly mistakes that the Raptors had capitalized on.  

At the 3:24 mark in the third, five out of the six recent possessions by the 76ers were turnovers. 100-82 was the score as the third quarter ended with the Raptors still on top.

Crowd energy was palpable as the fourth and final quarter began. Philadelphians knew how important a victory was here against the Raptors and the momentum of the audience seemed to transcend into the players.

The 76ers offense started to slow things down and play more confidently after some key buckets. Toronto was showing no sign of giving up though and Philadelphia was desperate for some stops.

As the momentum for the 76ers started to turn, so did the franchise center Joel Embiid. After making some key points at the free throw line, Embiid steals the show when he scored a three off a Raptor turnover and brought the game within seven points. With only 3:35 left to play, the score was 112-105 and the Raptors knew they had to shut this hopeful comeback down.

Capitalizing off of the same mistakes they had been making all night, Leonard kept driving towards the bucket and was again sent to the foul line, assuring this would be the final nail in the coffin. The game ended with the Raptors beating the 76ers at home, 119-107.

Notable performances of the game from the Philadelphia side were Joel Embiid, who scored 37 points with 13 rebounds and Ben Simmons who made 20 points with seven rebounds and six assists.

 The Raptors had three players score over 20 and had some impressive stats from their bench players. Kawhi Leonard had a total score of 24 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Kyle Lowry put up 20 points with six assists.

With this loss, the Philadelphia 76ers record drops to 34-20, the fifth best in the Atlantic division and will face off against the red-hot Denver Nuggets this Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center starting at 7:00 p.m.

Just last night, the 76ers finalized a blockbuster deal with the Los Angelos Clippers aquirinig power forward Tobias Harris to Philly. The 6ers hope that the adding of Harris will now give Philadelphia a “Big 4” in Butler. Embiid, Simonds and Harris.

The Clippers aquired Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and 2021 and 2023 second round-picks from the 76ers.