10 things I saw from Raptors-76ers (14–12–2016)

  1. It’s that easy: With 123 points tonight, the Raptors have now scored over 100 points in 17 of their last 18 games. That lone exception was the Kings screwjob that saw them end with 99 points. The Raptors’ offense isn’t some kind of gimmick - they’ve steamrolled defenses for nearly a quarter of the year.
  2. Human nature: They could have won this game by 30+ if they wanted to. But they got complacent and soft while the 76ers continued to push and it got annoying down the stretch. Was the win ever in doubt? No. But the Raptors didn’t really want to give full effort for 48 minutes against the lowly Sixers and who can blame them?
  3. HBD Mom: Kyle Lowry enjoyed himself during his mom’s birthday. He received his Olympic gold medal at Villanova before the game, then proceeded to smack around his hometown 76ers. At one point Lowry drilled a 30-footer with the shot-clock expiring while getting tackled (he completed the 4-point play). Later in the second half, Lowry drilled a three and full-on twerked to remind us that he is high-key thicc.
  4. Big problem: Philadelphia went to a two-big frontcourt of Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid then proceeded to push the Raptors around. Offensive rebounding kept the 76ers alive and their size in the frontcourt made life hell for the Raptors down low. That frontcourt can’t defend for shit but Brett Brown should use it more often just to see if either of his centers can develop their perimeter game a bit.
  5. Checkmate: Dwane Casey solved the frontcourt struggles by having Patrick Patterson start the second half over the struggling Pascal Siakam. The defense immediately got better as Philly scored only 20 points in the quarter. Patterson is the safety blanket for the Raptors’ defense and he’s proving to be indispensable role player.
  6. DeKobe: The Sixers had no idea what to do with DeMar DeRozan. Maybe there wasn’t anything to be done when he’s drilling contested twos and posting up Nik Stauskas. DeRozan got 31 points in 30 minutes and he was hardly trying. He got to rest the entire fourth quarter which is nice.
  7. Redemption: Terrence Ross atoned for his botched jam by throwing down a windmill taking off from the elbow that would have been a solid 48 at the Dunk Contest. It’s crazy how talented he is.
  8. Rookie mistakes: Both Siakam and Jakob Poeltl really showed their age tonight. Siakam botched a handful of easy finishes while being abused on defense. Poeltl meanwhile struggled to handle Embiid and Okafor’s physicality and ended up committing some silly fouls. They’ll learn from this.
  9. Jonas Valanciunas had yet another solid game. He occupied space in the paint, was active on the glass, got some putbacks, worked a few post-ups, and played the pick-and-roll nicely. That’s all you really want from Jonas.
  10. Matt Devlin’s Assassins Creed commerical reads are hilarious.