Raptors 129, Sixers 112: Kawhi Leonard in Philly would be nice



Old habits are hard to break and the Sixers found out the hard way north of the border.

The Sixers had trouble taking care of the ball and learned a tough lesson, one all too familiar, against one of the top teams in the East Tuesday night in a 129-112 loss to the 7-1 Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

With the loss, the Sixers (4-4) are now 0-4 on the road this season and saw their losing streak in Toronto reach 12 games.

Here are some observations from tonight's loss:

• Let's begin with the positive, which was the Sixers' resilience in the fourth quarter. The Raptors had this game wrapped up after three, taking a 19-point lead into the fourth.

This game felt out of hand and the Sixers seemed content coasting out of Toronto. But they woke up, fought hard and got within six points twice. It made for an entertaining fourth, but Toronto held. That's what great teams do.

• The Sixers have largely improved protecting the rock this season but for the second straight night, turnovers crept back into their game. On Monday, it didn't haunt them against Atlanta. Tonight, it did.

In the first half alone, the Sixers coughed up the ball 14 times and finished for a season-high 23 turnovers.

"The bottom line is the bottom line — you can't win with that volume of turnovers," Brett Brown told reporters. "We have to get going and learn from this and grow from this. It's borderline impossible to win when you have that many."

Brown wants the Sixers to play at a high pace, and this is part of it. But it's an area they still need to work on, especially if they have their sights on winning the East this season.

You can't be this careless with the ball against one of the beasts of the East and expect to hang around. It won't play well in April.

• Speaking of which, it was particularly an ugly night for Ben Simmons with the ball. Simmons set a new career high with 11 turnovers, seven of which came in the first half.

One of those turnovers was simply an elite defender playing elite defense on him in the game's first minute, when Kawhi Leonard stripped it away from Simmons.

Still, it was an off night for Simmons and the Sixers suffered from it. Simmons finished with 11 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Simmons joins Charles Barkley as the only Sixer with a stat line of 10-plus points, 10-plus assists and 10-plus turnovers. Yikes.

• Boy, Joel Embiid is never a boring player to watch. This dude is all fun. Embiid bounced back with a game we've been used to from the big man this season after the Hawks slowed him down Monday by double-teaming him.

Embiid turned in his eighth game with 20 or more points with a 31-point effort on 11 of 21 from the field and 3 of 4 from three. He finished with 11 rebounds, four assists and one block.

• Sixers fans know this all too well — a superstar not cleared to play in back-to-backs. That's the case currently with Leonard, who sat out Monday's game in Milwaukee.

Leonard was back in the lineup tonight, and, as you'd expect, was bad news for the Sixers. Leonard was his usual dominant self on both sides of the court as he led the Raptors with 31 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Toronto had Leonard on Simmons and if we're looking for a reason for Simmons' rough night, Leonard is a good place to start. He sure would have looked good in a Sixers uniform.

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