The Sixers made a comeback effort, but it was too little, too late.
The team's lack of depth was exposed in a 119-107 loss to the Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday.
The Sixers cut into Toronto's lead to start the second half and got it to as low as seven in the fourth, but the Raptors turned it on when they had to.
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The loss drops the Sixers to 21-6 at home and 34-20 overall.
Here are observations from the game.
• If there were ever a game that proved the Sixers desperately need to make a move, it’s this one.
With JJ Redick a last-minute scratch because of nausea and Wilson Chandler out until after the All-Star break with a quad strain, Landry Shamet and Mike Muscala started. The Raptors proceeded to hang 40 points in the first quarter, followed by 32 in the second.
The Sixers finished last season third in the NBA in defensive rating. They’re currently 10th while featuring an elite rim protector, an elite wing defender and another player that’s flashed elite potential on the perimeter.
While the Sixers may target three-and-D type players at the deadline, the second part of that description is much more important. With all the talk of offensive fit and the like, defense continues to be what’s holding back the Sixers from being considered among the East’s elite — and personnel appears to be the biggest issue.
• Kawhi Leonard is really freaking good.
It seemed like he was everywhere Tuesday night. When you look at his stat line, nothing special stands out (23 points, six rebounds, three steals), but he was able to get in the paint at will, fought for every loose ball and continued to suffocate Ben Simmons — though this was by far the best game Simmons has had against Leonard.
His presence opened things up for Kyle Lowry (20 points) and Serge Ibaka (20 points).
• After depth and defense, the Sixers' next biggest issue has to be turnovers. They turned it over 18 times. The Raptors turned that into 30 points. The biggest culprits were Simmons (six), T.J. McConnell (four) and Joel Embiid (four).
• If you’re looking for a bright spot for the Sixers, Embiid continued his dominant ways. He was too much for Ibaka and Greg Monroe inside and hit 3 of 6 threes. He poured in 37 points (10 of 18) and 13 rebounds for his league-leading 44th double-double.
If it wasn't for Embiid, this game would've never gotten close. Brett Brown even sensed that and played Embiid a season-high 41 minutes, barely resting him in the second half. That's after he played the big man 39 minutes against Sacramento Saturday.
• It was a pretty pedestrian game from Jimmy Butler offensively. Brown has said on numerous occasions and reiterated again before the game that he'd like to see Butler be more aggressive on that end of the floor. His fourth quarter against the Kings looked like an encouraging sign and he appeared aggressive early in the first few minutes of this one. Ultimately, he finished with just 16 points on 4 of 11 from the field.