By Jerry Wein
This is what happens when Sixers center Joel Embiid is merely mortal instead of playing like the NBA’s MVP.
Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each had 23 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Sixers 110-103 for their fourth straight win.
Coming off a 50-point outburst against Chicago on Friday night, Embiid had 25 points and 17 rebounds for the 76ers, who lost their fourth consecutive road game. But he made only six of 20 shots from the field, and the Sixers went 5 for 21 in the fourth quarter.
Toronto coach Nick Nurse gave much of the credit for the defense on Embiid to Aron Baynes.
”We kind of had to have him in there. When we didn’t, it wasn’t pretty,” Nurse said of his 6-foot-10, 260-pound center. ”I thought he put his body on him just enough. He got called for some, but that’s OK.”
Ben Simmons paced Philly (20-11) with 28 points and nine rebounds.
The 76ers led 55-52 after an 18-point first half by Simmons, who had missed two games with a stomach virus after scoring 42 points in a loss at Utah.
The Sixers shot 39% for the game.
”I thought a lot of our guys had great looks tonight,” coach Doc Rivers said. ”The problem was they weren’t going in, and then it started mounting up.”
The Raptors had erased an early 14-point deficit by hitting five 3-pointers – four by Van Vleet – in a span of 2 1/2 minutes.
Boucher’s big shooting spurt late in the game was less expected.
”We started behind before both those barrages and obviously it was important in getting back in the game,” Nurse said.
VanVleet and Boucher hit five 3s each and the Raptors shot 14 for 34 from behind the arc.