National Post (National Edition)
Raptors visit Sixers seeking first win
`Got to make more plays at a higher level'
The Philadelphia 76ers will look to rebound from a disappointing loss when they host the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.
The Sixers were dismantled 118-94 on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday without NBA All-Star Joel Embiid. Shortly before the game, Embiid was scratched with back tightness and the Sixers never responded.
Philadelphia went 11-10 last season without Embiid.
Despite losing Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in free agency, the Raptors still were expected to be a formidable team again. But they dropped their first two games to the New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors played well against the host Spurs before losing 119-114 on Saturday. Fred VanVleet scored 27 points and Chris Boucher contributed 22 as six players reached double figures.
Yet it wasn't enough and now Toronto will look for its first victory.
“It's not rocket science,” VanVleet said. “I don't want to say it's an effort thing. I feel like guys are trying out there. We've got to make more plays at a higher level. It's easy to say it on offence when you say guys have got to make plays, you've got to complete the play. But it's the same thing on defence: You've got to make the extra rotation, you've got to make the close out, you've got to come up with the rebound.”
The Raptors haven't been two games under .500 in seven years.
For a veteran and an NBA champion like Kyle Lowry, losing will never be acceptable.
“I think it's an adjustment for the new faces, that's one,” said Lowry, who has compiled double-doubles in both losses. “But I think it's more than one thing. I think it's two games, (a short) pre-season. I think it's a lot of things that goes into that, everybody making adjustments trying to figure it out. Your defence should be a little bit more ahead of your offence right now, and we're just kind of even right now with everything.”
The Sixers won their first two games with doubledoubles by Embiid before falling to the Cavaliers. Embiid's status is unclear for the game against the Raptors.
The Sixers' team defence was subpar as the Cavaliers dominated from the opening tip to the final buzzer.