By Dylan MacKinnon
Ugly shooting was the theme of the night. Both the Sixers and Raptors struggled to make field goals, leading to a low-scoring game. The Sixers shot 30-73 in the game (41.1%). Meanwhile, the Raptors shot just 35-93 (37.6%). But it was the Raptors who got the win in the end. The Sixers lost 93-88.
Things did not start slow for the Sixers. They lead by 10 after one quarter, with Tyrese Maxey leading the way with 9pts. Most notably though, Matisse Thybulle got heavily involved with 8pts, including two 3pters. And the Sixers seemed more than happy to share the ball. They had 10 assists on 37 pts in the first quarter.
The second quarter, however, did not go the Sixers’ way. They were outscored 30-17, and a double-digit lead was turned into a 3pt deficit. After starting 13 for 23, in the second half, the starters went 4 for 21. Their assist total from the first quarter was halved. It was when the bench came in that the came got out of hand. But even with all 5 starters back in, they couldn’t recapture the momentum in the quarter. At the end of two, they trailed 57-54.
The shooting did not improve in the 3rd, but the defense at least did. Thybulle had 4 blocks in the quarter. He had 3 within one minute. One of those lead to a transition layup by Maxey. The Raptors scored only 12pts in the entire quarter, compared to the Sixers’ 20. They also went just 5 of 24 from the field. The Sixers were not much better from the field and had only 5 made field goals. But they went 9-10 from the line to make up for that a bit. After 3 quarters, they led 74-69.
The ugly shooting continued into the 4th for both teams. The Raptors had the lead in the final minute of the game. A Maxey dunk cut the lead to just two. And then Scottie Barnes went 0-2 at the line, giving the Sixers a chance to tie or take the lead with just 10 seconds to go. Harden drove hard to the rim, missed the layup, and was called for a flagrant offensive foul. And that was all she wrote.
The two teams had just 70 pts combined in the second half. Turnovers and ugly shooting hurt both teams, but the Sixers got the even shorter end of the stick and took the loss. Even with horrible FT shooting in the final minute of the game by the Raptors, 1-5, the Sixers could not claw their way back in.
The Sixers get no time off and face the Heat tomorrow night at 7:30. This will actually be the 3rd time they face the Heat in the second game of a back-to-back. It is the 4th and final time they face the Heat this season. They come into it 1-2 vs the number 1 seed.