By Annie Ross
Tobias Harris (above) scored 26 points and rookie Matisse Thybulle had a career-high 20 points, including a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left, to lead the Sixers to their 12th straight home victory, 110-104 over the Raptors.
Ben Simmons had 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists a day after scoring a career-high 34 points while hitting his second career 3-pointer as the Sixers remained unbeaten at home this season.
Philly led by 20 points with 6½ minutes left and seemed on the way to an easy victory before seven turnovers down the stretch, including turnovers by Joel Embiid on three consecutive possessions.
“Where do we begin?” coach Brett Brown responded when asked about the finish. “The way it ended left a little bit of a sour taste.”
Thybulle finally iced the game with a pair of free throws with 26.3 seconds left that made it 107-100.
Kyle Lowry, playing in his second game after missing 11 in a row due to a broken left thumb, scored 26 points, and OG Anunoby had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto. The defending champion Raptors have lost three in a row.
“Our rhythm wasn’t great and we didn’t shoot it great,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said.
Embiid returned from a one-game absence due to a hip injury, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. Embiid was benched with 2:08 remaining after committing the three turnovers but did return to the floor. He had seven of Philadelphia’s 17 turnovers.
“He had some rough decisions, but he’s one of the main reasons we won,” Brown said. “Something we will learn and grow from.”
Toronto got close late, but the Raptors had dug too big of a hole in the third quarter.
Philly held Toronto to 36% shooting in the first half while taking a 57-42 lead at the break. The 76ers continued to clamp down on the Raptors offense after halftime and got a big lift from the bench during a decisive third-quarter run that saw their lead grow to as many as 20 points, 73-53, on Al Horford’s hook with 4:23 remaining in the period.
Philly is nine games shy of tying the club record for home wins to start a season. The franchise has won 21 straight home games to start a campaign three times, twice in Syracuse (1949-50 and 1952-53 seasons) and once after moving to Philadelphia (1966-67).