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Sixers drop game one of series with Raptors

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Sixers would hit the road on Sunday traveling to Tampa Bay to start a mini-series with the Toronto Raptors. This game would go down to the wire, but in the end, the Sixers would fall just short.

After going nearly eight minutes in the fourth quarter without a basket the Raptors would create just enough distance to keep the Sixers away. In the end, they would walk away with a 110-103 victory.

The Sixers would get back not one but two players tonight as Ben Simmons and Shake Milton would both return to the lineup in this one. Both would go on to give good production in the Sixers' effort tonight.

Simmons came right out from the opening tip and assert himself on offense. He would continue to get downhill in the open floor and show similar aggressiveness that he did in his dominant showing against the Utah Jazz last week.

He would finish the game as the team's leading scorer with 28 points, along with grabbing nine rebounds and dishing five assists. What would stand out most from his performance is his efficiency shooting the ball. Simmons shot 81.8% from the floor, making nine of his 11 field goal attempts, and would convert 10 of his 14 attempts from the foul line.

Milton would have a slow start but find a groove in the second half. He would lead the bench unit with nine points, along with hitting a trio of shots from beyond the arc. Having him back on the floor was a much-needed boost for a second unit that has struggled on the offensive end of the floor.

Raptor's head coach Nick Nurse has always thrown an array of traps and double teams at Joel Embiid, and the same would happen on Sunday night. Toronto would start small and double Embiid on every touch before throwing Aron Baynes on him for stretches.

Embiid would make nice reads out of double teams all night, but the Sixers would struggle to capitalize on the looks. He would struggle shooting the ball as well, hitting just six of his 20 shot attempts, but that did not stop the MVP frontrunner from racking up 25 points and 17 rebounds.

Three-point shooting and the bench battle continue to be the downfall of the Sixers in their recent stretch. The Sixers would shoot under 30% as a team from deep, hitting 11 out of 37 attempts.

Outside of Shake Milton, the Sixers' second unit would score just seven points. This would result in the Raptors' bench outscoring them by 35-16. Lack of production out of the bench unit continues to be a glaring weakness for this team.

Looking ahead, the Sixers will look to regroup and get ready to potentially split this mini-series on Tuesday night.



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