Embiid scores 36 points as Philadelphia 76ers beat Toronto Raptors 114-109
TORONTO – Before the understaffed Toronto Raptors spoke out against Philadelphia on Tuesday, coach Nick Nurse sat down with Chris Boucher. The nurse told Boucher about “giving a few pounds” to Sixers big man Joel Embiid.
TORONTO – Before the understaffed Toronto Raptors spoke out against Philadelphia on Tuesday, coach Nick Nurse sat down with Chris Boucher.
The nurse told Boucher about “giving a few pounds” to Sixers big man Joel Embiid. (At 200 pounds, Boucher weighs almost 80 pounds less than Embiid).
The nurse told him “do your best”.
The understaffed Raptors lost a 114-109 decision to the 76ers on Tuesday, and the loss marred a strong performance for Boucher, who had a season-high 28 points, including five from three points. and tied his career high with 19 rebounds.
“The most important thing was that he was up for the challenge,” Nurse said of the Montreal native. “He was ready to fight them and I thought he had hurt them.”
Joel Embiid had 36 points and 11 rebounds while Tobias Harris achieved his first career triple-double – 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists – for Philadelphia (18-16).
“Oh man, he’s a big guy, I’m not gonna lie,” Boucher said of defending Embiid. “But I think he improved me a lot today.”
Pascal Siakam had 28 points in his first game in two weeks, while Gary Trent Jr. finished with 19 points and Yuta Watanabe added 10 for Toronto (14-17).
The Raptors played with a patchwork lineup that included four hardship signers. One of them was DJ Wilson, who only cleared COVID-19 protocols in time to join the team at halftime.
“They fought, they fought really hard,” Nurse said.
Toronto trailed for most of the night, but never in double digits until the fourth quarter. Down 85-81 to start the fourth, the Raptors’ shot turned cold – they missed seven of their first nine shots – and Georges Niang’s three-point shot capped a 10-2 run that allowed the Sixers to take 11 points.
The Raptors rallied, and Boucher’s three-point shot brought Toronto down to three points with 3:42 left.
Trent followed a short jumper with a three-point pointer to give Toronto a 107-106 lead with 1:41 left to the delight of the 6,960 fans at Scotiabank Arena.
Embiid’s basket gave the Sixers a lead with 51 seconds left, and Harris made four free throws down the home stretch to seal the win for Philadelphia.
COVID-19 has hit the NBA in the past two weeks as cases climb amid the new Omicron variant, and the Raptors have been among the hardest hit.
Siakam, Trent and Malachi Flynn cleared protocols just in time to play on Tuesday after being among 10 players who missed Sunday’s 144-99 rout in Cleveland. Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Isaac Bonga and Justin Champagnie remain in health and safety protocols.
“It has been difficult,” Siakam said, during his second fight with COVID-19. “But this time it was a little lighter. This first time (last spring) was just a lot and I felt really sick and my body was losing a lot of weight, and just uncomfortable. This time around, j felt like I was cold, I was being honest. “
Precious Achiuwa and Khem Birch also crossed protocol but were suspended for a return to competitive conditioning, while Dalano Banton was sidelined with a bruised knee.
Nurse had said ahead of the game that he planned to monitor the minutes of his three returnees, saying the lone players couldn’t do much more than the Zoom workouts.
But Siakam and Trent both played almost 42 minutes each.
“I feel like I’m tired all the time,” Siakam said.
Nurse said the Raptors, who have seen three games postponed due to COVID-19, could finally train on Wednesday for the first time in more than a week.
“I guess we’re not going to get much out of these two guys in training, but it’ll be nice to probably have other guys in as well,” he said.
VanVleet is expected to be one of the out-of-protocol players on Wednesday.
The low-season crowd came after the Ontario government’s recent decision to cut licensed capacity to 50 percent for large events. Concessions have been closed and fans could be kicked out for not wearing their masks.
Siakam led the way with 14 points in a first quarter that saw the Raptors lead for much of the first five minutes before leading 27-24 to end the period.
A long jumper from Seth Curry gave the Sixers eight points at the end of the second quarter. He hit a three with 3.2 seconds left to send the 76ers to the halftime break with a 55-48 lead.
Svi Mykhailiuk’s three-point shot with 1:39 left in the third quarter capped a 13-2 run for the Raptors that put them ahead by two.
The match kicked off a four-game homestand. The Raptors host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 28, 2021.
The Canadian Press