After a heart-breaking loss on Sunday afternoon to the Portland Trail-Blazers, the Toronto Raptors made sure that they’d win outright tonight against a woeful Philadelphia 76ers squad, winning by a score of 108-98. With arguably their best performance of the year, the Toronto Raptors were great on all cylinders tonight, and have now taken sole possession atop of the Atlantic Division, improving to 5-7.
Image Source: Associated Press/Matt Slocum
Tonight was a night where everything was working on the offensive-end for the Raptors, and it was all thanks to their execution. As opposed to running various ISO’s for the likes of Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors were doing something that they haven’t done much of this season; sharing the basketball. Ranking 30th in assists entering tonight’s game, the Raptors looked liked a team that was accustomed to sharing the rock, as they finished with 24 assists. High-percentage looks were also a big reason for their success on O, including their play on the perimeter as well. The Raptors took advantage of a team who ranked dead last in 3pt-defense, finishing with fourteen made three’s, on just twenty-nine attempts. Oh yeah, the rotations offensively were solid as well.
While the Philadelphia 76ers may not be the most intriguing team offensively, they certainly aren’t a team to take lightly on that end of the floor either. During shoot-around, Dwane Casey stressed the matter on how important it was for the Raptors to give an effort defensively, even though many consider the Sixers to be an offensively-challenged group. With twenty forced turnovers and nine blocked shots, the Raptors surely made a stance defensively tonight.
Although the Raptors may have been out-rebounded tonight (50-41), it didn’t have any sort of affect on their game-play whatsoever. Fortunately for the Raptors, they did a solid job boxing out on the defensive-end, holding the Sixers to haul just nine offensive-rebounds.
Game Ball: DeMar DeRozan
With 33 points (10-19 FG), DeMar DeRozan was by far the best player on the floor tonight. Scoring in just about every way possible, DeRozan showcased a little bit of everything, in what appeared to be a favorable matchup for him offensively. He got to the line twelve times (converting on 10), and nailed three 3-pointers as well. It was another great performance by DeMar, who’s averaged 33 points over his last three games.