Philadelphia takes a 2-0 lead off Embiid's 31

John Gallardo
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Monday, April 18, 2022

Raptors run out of gas as Sixers run them out the gym

The Toronto Raptors are facing an uphill climb to get back in this series, as they dropped game two against the Philadelphia 76ers 112-97 in a game that was anything but competitive aside from the first quarter and opening moments of the fourth.


The Raptors were hopelessly overmatched. Rookie Scottie Barnes was sitting on the sidelines with a left ankle injury, Gary Trent Jr. was a game-time decision as he was dealing with a non-covid illness, and Thaddeus Young hyperextended his left thumb in game one. Trent Jr. and Young did play, however both players didn’t look quite like themselves, and it was clear that they willed themselves to play in game two despite the ailments.


Despite being overmatched, the Raptors showed a ton of fight and heart early on, as they jumped off to an eight-to-none run that was led by Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby. Philly responded with their own 14-2 run that took the wind out of Toronto’s early momentum, as the Sixers got to the line at will with Harden and Embiid drawing fouls left and right.


The Raptors were able to hang in there in the first quarter as they took a 33-32 lead into the second, with VanVleet scoring 15 of his 20 points on the night in the first. Joel Embiid had 19 points at the end of the first, and he went to the free throw line 12 times while making 11 of the free throws. Embiid would have three more attempts for the rest of the game.


Toronto and Philly continued the back and forth for much of the second quarter, but a 7-0 run by the Sixers and an untimely offensive drought by the Raptors really broke the game open and the Raptors had trouble recovering from that point onward. Toronto ended the quarter on one-for-eleven shooting, as the Sixers went into halftime with a 67-52 lead.


The third quarter was where the frustration really mounted for the Raptors, as Anunoby and Siakam were both dealing with foul trouble, and the Sixers were getting whatever they wanted on offence.


Toronto looked to be lacking defensive effort for a string of possessions in the third, which for a team that hung their hats on defence and toughness was uncharacteristic. It seemed clear that their struggles on offence was now affecting their defence, which is not the identity of this team in the slightest.


Nevertheless, the Raptors continued to fight. Despite the 24-point deficit, and the lead being as big as 29, a 15-0 run early in the fourth brought the Raptors back within 11. Toronto rediscovered their defensive resolve, as they strung together seven-straight defensive stops.


Just when it seemed the Raptors were approaching striking distance, a Tyrese Maxey steal off a bad pass by Anunoby absolutely killed the momentum Toronto had been building. Just when the Sixer crowd had been lulled to sleep due to the sheer non-competitiveness of this game, they had finally woken up, and so had the Sixers.



Philadelphia had 30 attempts at the free throw line to Toronto’s 12. The Raptors were able to win the offensive glass 13-7, but lost the battle on the glass overall 41-35. The Sixers shot 14-for-30 (47%) from three, the Raptors were 11-for-32 (34%).


If not for the signs of life in the first and third quarter, Shaquille O’Neal’s prediction of Toronto getting swept in this series wouldn’t look so crazy anymore. Even so, the Raptors showed a bit of life in this game despite losing in rather disappointing fashion once again.


What’s next for the Raptors? They’re going back to Toronto on Wednesday to take on the Sixers at Scotiabank Arena in what will be a high-energy arena in a must-win game. Tip-off begins 8:00pm EST.