Five thoughts on the Toronto Raptors coming back from 22 down to beat the 76ers in Philly—a game I gave up on in the third, only to get sucked back in in the fourth. Delon Wright for MVP.
Keep shooting, fellas
The Raptors shot 35 threes last night; Kyle Lowry shot 3-9 from distance (including 1-5 in the first quarter), DeMar shot 6-9 from 3-pt range. Normally those numbers are reversed, but the point is, I am thrilled to see these guys shooting threes in this volume. Kyle I trust from long-range implicitly, and although DeMar’s percentages aren’t anywhere near Kyle’s, I still know he’s a good shooter. Take those, DeMar. Keep shooting!
Well, maybe not you, Pascal Siakam
Pascal’s now 9-57 on the season from three point range. He missed another 3 attempts last night. I like every other thing Pascal does—the rebounding, the running the floor, the blocks—but he’s gotta stop shooting threes.
DeMar DeRozan, inefficient scorer?
Career-high 45 points on 21 shots. 6-9 from 3-pt range. 5 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. He also scored the Raps’ last 10 points.
Maybe he’ll finally start changing the perception of him as an inefficient scorer?
DeRozan put this game away, but Delon Wright changed it
The Raps came out of halftime trailing by 13… and with 9 minutes to go, after three straight turnovers, they were trailing by 22. They were sloppy (17 turnovers to that point), not crashing the glass (out rebounded by 3, an 11-2 deficit in 2nd chance pts) and the defense was pretty much nonexistent (a -26 in points in the paint).
Then the game flipped, completely.
Delon Wright and Pascal Siakam came in for OG Anunoby and Jonas Valanciunas. And the Sixers lead started to dwindle.
DeRozan had a steal. Wright had an offensive rebound and assisted on a Lowry layup. He followed that up with a steal and a layup. Siakam blocked Rashad Holmes at the rim. Wright got ANOTHER offensive rebound, and scored; then he grabbed a loose ball after an Ibaka block and assisted on another Kyle Lowry layup.
Then Delon hit 2 free throws. Then he hit a 3-pointer.
Within four minutes of game time, the 22-point lead was down to 7.
And Delon Wright was everywhere.
The Sixers shouldn’t be too ashamed
OK, so blowing a 22-point lead is pretty bad. Especially since they blew a 16-point lead to the Knicks the other night. But, this team is gonna be so good. They nearly beat the Raps without two of their best players, Joel Embiid and JJ Redick.
Ben Simmons is damned impressive. He moves like an 8-year vet; just incredibly smooth, knows how to pick his spots; can’t shoot, but he doesn’t try to. In fact he hardly forced anything, which is unusual for a rookie. Delon Wright did frustrate him when Delon picked him up, and Simmons did have 7 turnovers. But damn. He’s gonna be amazing.
But can we also talk about Dario Saric? His passing and ballhadling? His shooting? The guy finished with 18, 10 and 9 (on 7-10 shooting). He’s skilled, big, athletic. He’s a prefect companion to Simmons and Embiid.
It wasn’t a complete game from the Raptors; it was another 24-minute performance that was just enough to win.
These two teams play again tomorrow; Embiid is still questionable, but you can be assured the Sixers will be out for vengeance. Let’s hope the Raptors have closer to 4 complete quarters in them for this one!