The Philadelphia 76ers relied on huge offensive performances from their star trio to earn a 121-111 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. Joel Embiid played through an ankle injury to extend his streak of 30-point, 10-rebound games to 13, while Tobias Harris scored a season-high 33 points and Tyrese Maxey added 26.
Embiid Overcomes Scare to Continue Historic Run
Early in the first quarter, Embiid appeared to tweak his ankle and needed assistance getting to the locker room. However, he returned shortly after and showed little effects of the injury as he finished with 28 points, 19 rebounds and 5 blocks:
“It’s painful at times but that’s part of the game,” Embiid said. “You gotta play through it. I know what I’m capable of and I know they depend on me so I gotta show up.”
In extending his 30-10 streak to 13 games, Embiid joined Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in NBA history with such a run.
Embiid’s numbers over the last 13 games put his dominance into perspective:
After the game, 76ers coach Doc Rivers praised Embiid’s toughness to fight through pain:
“He’s playing with a lot of nagging injuries, but he gives you everything he has,” Rivers said. “He said he could play, so we just kept watching him. If he said otherwise, we likely would have kept him out.”
Harris Matches Career-High as Supporting Cast Steps Up
With James Harden sidelined for a month due to a foot injury, Harris knew he needed to raise his offensive production. He did just that on Friday, knocking down 14-of-19 shots while matching his career high in scoring:
“I’ve just been aggressive and the opportunities have been there more,” Harris said. “I need to help pick up the slack with guys being out.”
Harris now has three 30-point games over his last seven after failing to reach that mark over the first 23 games of the season. Tyrese Maxey has also increased his scoring average from 16.2 points before the Harden injury to 21.4 over the last 10 contests.
Historic Offensive Display Propels Shorthanded 76ers
Harris, Maxey and Embiid became the first trio of Sixers teammates in over 60 years to each record 25+ points while shooting over 60% from the floor. Their combined efficiency powered Philadelphia despite missing key contributors like Harden and P.J. Tucker.
Harris believes the performance showed how dangerous their offense can be even undermanned:
“It just shows the amount of talent,” Harris said. “We can score and be dynamic with multiple guys.”
76ers vs. Raptors shot charts:
Philadelphia finished with the highest field goal percentage (60.2%) of any NBA team this season while notching 121 points against one of the league’s top defenses.
Raptors Struggle to Keep Pace in Second Straight Loss
Despite 23 points from Pascal Siakam, Toronto failed to match Philadelphia’s white-hot shooting. Their defensive struggles were noticeable as they allowed at least 120 points for the second straight contest.
Raptors wing O.G. Anunoby admitted his team’s identity has become unclear amidst a stretch where they’ve lost three of four:
“We don’t really know what we want to do out there,” Anunoby said. We’re trying to figure it out.”
Toronto now faces a daunting schedule over its next nine games, taking on numerous contenders like the Cavaliers, Warriors, Nuggets and Grizzlies. Friday’s lopsided loss showcased how much ground the Raptors must make up to compete with the NBA’s elite.
What This Means Going Forward
With Harden and Tucker potentially returning within weeks, the 76ers appear to be reaching their peak at an ideal time. Their cohesion and depth were on full display against Toronto as Harris and Maxey stepped up to complement Embiid.
Embiid seems unfazed by nagging injuries like his ankle and foot issues. As long as he avoids significant time off, his MVP-level stretch could continue. However, Philadelphia needs to keep close tabs on his health headed towards the playoffs.
The Raptors possess plenty of talent, but still struggle with consistency issues plaguing younger teams. Matchups with East contenders over the next few weeks should show if Toronto has enough to threaten the top of the conference.
While the Raptors kept Friday’s game competitive for a half, Philadelphia’s scoring depth proved overpowering. Harris and Maxey’s big nights alleviated pressure on Embiid, who continued his tear despite hobbling at times. With Harden and Tucker close to returning, the 76ers appear to hitting their stride when it matters most.
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