The Toronto Raptors ended a three game losing streak, taking a 16 point victory over division rival the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Centre. The Raptors started slowly and found themselves down 29-34 at the end of the first but got things going in the second quarter eventually taking a 63-57 lead heading into the break. Kyle Lowry hit a 3 on the buzzer to end the half and give the Raptors some strong momentum. The third quarter just saw Luis Scola go wild, he scored 17 of his 21 points in this stage which helped see the Raptors outscore Philadelphia 33-21. At one point during the second half Toronto took things further and led by as much as 20 before the 76ers came back into the game and made the scoreline a little more respectable, in the end Toronto came away with a 119-103 win.
The win sees the Raptors move to 6-3 for the season and improve to a 2-1 record vs the Atlantic division. Again without new signing DeMarre Carroll, James Johnson was inserted into the starting line up while the absence of Terrence Ross due to a thumb injury meant more minutes for Bismack Biyombo and Patrick Patterson. The bench was well used with Cory Joseph seeing more game time than anyone. All of the reserves saw minutes and having a late big lead meant most of the starters were able to gain some needed rest after playing New York the night before. The 76ers are still without a win this season going to 0-8 after this one, they were also without 7 players due to injury tonight including Noel and Embiid.
The Raptors put up their highest score of the season with 119 points. Lowry was unstoppable at times top scoring with 23 points and dishing out 8 assists. Luis Scola got going big time with a strong 21 point game. Jonas Valanciunas had a double double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Biyombo and Joseph helped from the bench, scoring 10 and 15 points respectively with Biyombo also grabbing 5 offensive rebounds.This time there were no stagnant periods with little to no points and each quarter the Raptors put up well above 20 points.
Defence was good and a lot of Philadelphia’s points came in garbage time. That being said the first quarter saw the 76ers score 34 points and they still managed at least 20 in each quarter during a high scoring game. Philadelphia is still winless and were a depleted squad tonight yet still got above 100. Jahill Okafor was the top scorer for the game with 26 points. In the end though the Raptors got it done and did force 12 turnovers. The best defence is sometimes a good offence. Tonight that was the case, it would not be wise to make a habit of this however.
Again Toronto just dominated the boards and this was against a young athletic team. Valanciunas took 12 of the Raptors 56 boards as the team out rebounded Philadelphia 56-37.
Game Ball: Luis Scola
It would be between Scola and Lowry however in the absence of DeMarre Carroll it was the “other” new signing who rose to the occasion. Scola put in his biggest game in a Raptors jersey and was a huge part of the turning point when the Raptors were able to get away and take a commanding lead at the end of the third quarter. He also had the highest impact while on the floor with a +20 contribution. We have seen a solid and committed Scola but tonight he took it up a level when it was needed most. Missing key players, on the road, back to back game during a losing streak, this guy came in and got it done.
It is always important to end a losing streak. Even though it came against arguably the NBA’s worst team the Raps got it done and bounced back. They will be tested a little more when Anthony Davis and the Pelicans come to town before going on a road trip but this win will prove important entering a tough part of the regular season schedule.