Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Leonard scores 36 points as Toronto Raptors beat Butler, Sixers 113-102

Highlight play fails to spark Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers in loss to Toronto Raptors At the Buzzer | Butler's Season High Not Enough at Toronto
Cassandra Castillo | 08 December, 2018, 10:13

Philadelphia is a good, tough opponent, and this wasn't a flawless outing for the Raptors, but it showed how talented this team is that they can fight through those games, even against a good team, and pull out the win. The 76ers last played Sunday, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 103-95 at the Wells Fargo Center. Toronto has gone 1-2 in those games, no surprise. Jonas Valanciunas, limited by foul trouble in the first half, was able to comfortably win the matchup against Joel Embiid in the fourth, delivering 18 points and frequently getting the better of Embiid at both ends of the floor.

"We look forward to going up there and using it as an early sort of barometer of where we are", 76ers coach Brett Brown said Tuesday.

Much was made about how the Aussie would gel with star 76ers recruit Jimmy Butler but the pair combined beautifully against the high-flying Raptors.

A one-point deficit kept the 76ers in the contest but they couldn't overcome the Eastern Conference ladder leaders despite Jimmy Butler's season-high 38-point haul.

Unfortunately for Simmons and Butler, the good luck that started with their new fashion statement didn't continue against Toronto.

"You've got sort of a sparring partner for Kawhi, and (an) All-Star now on our team", Brown said.

Simmons suffered one of his more quiet nights as he finished with just eight points
Simmons suffered one of his more quiet nights as he finished with just eight points

It continues a awful record for the Sixers against Toronto during Simmons' career. "It's a new day, we have a new team, and we're feeling good about the direction that we are heading". The Raptors are the NBA's top team with a 21-5 record at present and one of the favourites to emerge out as the Eastern Conference champions this season.

He was acquired November 12 with Justin Patton from Minnesota in exchange for Jerryd Bayless, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and a 2022 second-round draft pick. The 76ers visit the Detroit Pistons on Friday. "He showed some really good minutes in the five position. He's in that conversation for MVP". He scored just 3 points but had 11 assists. Toronto, whose 21-5 record is the best in the National Basketball Association, improved to 11-3 at home.

The third quarter largely brought more of the same, with Butler and Leonard trading blows as each team largely struggled to find other offense, before the Raptors bench came to life to open the fourth quarter. We weren't able to do that.

"May not seem like the best matchup in the world throwing it in to JV against Embiid, but JV had it going and he did a good job", said Nurse. They do not rely on just one player to handle the scoring load, nor defensive side of the game for them.

"He always wants to play more and he always wants to be contributing more", said Nurse.

More news: Rex Tillerson reflects on firing, working for "undisciplined" Trump

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