Optimism Abounds for 76ers After Loss to Toronto

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Did the 76ers find a recipe for success in the playoffs? Despite the team's 125-121 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, there are reasons for optimism heading into the playoffs. 

The Raptors have been a team the 76ers have struggled against historically, and the last three years have been no different. Over the last three seasons, Philadelphia has gone a meager 3-9 against Toronto. This season, Toronto's defense has given Philadelphia fits, holding them to just 105.5 points per game (100.3 points per game before Wednesday's game in the bubble). 

Philadelphia, in Wednesday's loss to Toronto, finally found the recipe for success against the Raptors: play a physical, bruising style of basketball and overwhelm Toronto's small lineup. There were moments in Wednesday's action, albeit briefly, when the 76ers Simmons-less starting lineup showed they could dominate and bully Toronto. The 76ers built up an 18-8 lead heading into the team's first substitution, made with 6:22 remaining in the first quarter. The 76ers played harassing, physical defense to keep Toronto from getting into an early rhythm, something the bubble-version of the Sixers have been unable to do.

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76ers Injury Update: Embiid, Richardson Out vs Suns; Simmons Expected to Miss Remainder of Season

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The injuries just keep mounting for the 76ers. Monday's injury report, featuring a slew of players from throughout the starting lineup, felt like it was a mile long.

Joel Embiid, who left the game against Portland in the first quarter with a left ankle injury, will miss the team's upcoming game against the Phoenix Suns. Head coach Brett Brown on Monday said he thinks Embiid will be able to step on the court again before the playoffs begin. The team, for now, is utilizing a cautious approach involving giving Embiid treatment as they further evaluate his injury.

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76ers Fall to Portland, Lillard's 51-Point Effort

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Philadelphia 76ers dropped a back-and-forth thriller to the Portland Trail Blazers 124-121 on Sunday night. The 76ers were down by 17 points at one point in the first half, but a second-half resurgence resulted in the lead changing hands. However, 51 points from Damian Lillard proved to be too much for a Philadelphia team without its two star players (more on that below). Here are some observations from the 76ers' loss to Portland:

1. Joel Embiid forced to exit the game with a left ankle injury

Within the last week, the 76ers went from having two available All-Stars to zero. Superstar big man Joel Embiid exited the game against Portland in the first quarter after stepping awkwardly on the basket stanchion after defending Wenyen Gabriel at the rim. NBC Sports Philadelphia's Serena Winters reported that Embiid suffered a left ankle injury that would force him to miss the remainder of the game. The injury came just days after Ben Simmons partially dislocated his kneecap in the game against the Wizards.

With the 76ers having three seeding games remaining, keeping Embiid healthy heading into the playoffs should be a priority. There is no reason to rush him back from any injury until he is back to 100%. Embiid was seen back on the bench in the second half, leading people to believe it is only a minor injury.

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The Rewind: 76ers Drop Opening Seeding Game to Pacers 127-121

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The 76ers, despite a 41-point, 21-rebound effort from Joel Embiid, began their seeding games with a 127-121 loss to the Indiana Pacers at the Visa Athletic Center in Disney World. TJ Warren dropped a career-high 53 points on 20-0f-29 shooting to push the Pacers past Philadelphia. The loss gives the Pacers control over the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference due to them winning the season series.

In addition to Embiid's dominant night, Tobias Harris added in 30 points and eight rebounds while Ben Simmons finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. However, the work of the 76ers' superstar trio was not enough to compete with Warren's 53-point performance.

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Takeaways from 76ers' New Lineup Showcased at Orlando Practices

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Just a few days after practices began in Orlando, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown has revealed one major lineup change the team has been working on: moving Ben Simmons to a point forward role. Brown said on Monday that the team was trying some "high-level stuff" with how they would use Simmons.

The move also resulted in the addition of Shake Milton to the starting lineup. Milton was on fire in the last handful of games before the NBA was forced to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last nine games before the suspension, Milton averaged 17.8 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 57.4% from the field and an incredible 60.4% from 3-point range. He proved, albeit in a small sample, that he has the ability to run the offense while also being able to shoot from outside and be an off-ball guard, something the team had looked to receive from former first-round pick Markelle Fultz. Joel Embiid has certainly been impressed by Milton's play both this season and in the team's practices thus far in Orlando.

“He’s been amazing,” Embiid said. “He’s been the starting point guard. I think he has a huge opportunity to help us accomplish what we believe we can. He’s been doing an amazing job, just running the team, and we're going to need him to knock down shots, which he did before the league basically got shut down. He was on a roll. So we all need him to keep it going. But it’s been great.”

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Tobias Harris Stepped Into Crucial Leadership Role for 76ers During Quarantine

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Things hadn't gone quite as planned this season for the Philadelphia 76ers, who stood at 39-26 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference heading into the NBA's suspension due to the Coronavirus-19 pandemic. Tobias Harris, in an interview on ESPN's First Take, attributed some of the team's struggles to a lack of chemistry. The NBA's decision to suspend the 2019-20 regular season threw another hook at what was already a Sixers season filled with ups, downs and inconsistencies. 

Team communication became much more important once the season was suspended and players were forced to quarantine in their homes. Harris viewed the quarantine as a time to fix some of the team's chemistry issues, instigating Zoom calls and text messages throughout the members of the team to make sure everyone stayed in touch with each other.

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Stanford's Tyrell Terry Provides Scoring, Pick-and-Roll Ability That 76ers Need

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Acquiring a guard with knockdown-shooting capabilities has been on Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand's checklist ever since he took over in September 2018. With the 76ers currently holding the 22nd pick in the NBA Draft (via the Oklahoma City Thunder), there is sure to be a plethora of players available who fit the criteria of being a good shooter.

Tyrell Terry, a freshman guard from Stanford, took only one season to prove he can score at an elite, efficient level. He averaged 14.6 points per game while shooting 40.8% from 3-point range on 4.9 attempts per game. His jumper has a quick, high release, which helps allow him to quickly get shots off out of the pick-and-roll. At 160 pounds, he also has the speed and ability to run off of screens, something the 76ers haven't had since JJ Redick.

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What We're Thankful For in Philly Sports in 2019

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Thanksgiving is often a time of reflection. A time when people who care about each other come together and discuss the things that they are thankful for.

In the Philadelphia area and even for those fans that don't live in the area, Philadelphia sports teams play a major part in many of our lives.

With that in mind, we polled our Sports Talk Philly experts to see what they are most thankful about in regards to the teams they cover.

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76ers Remain Undefeated With Comeback Victory Over Portland Trail Blazers, 129-128

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Philadelphia 76ers remain a perfect 5-0 to begin the season after a 129-128 come-from-behind victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Furkan Korkmaz hit a three from the corner with 0.4 seconds remaining to win the game.

Philadelphia did not have a lead until there were 10.1 seconds left in the game, and Portland was up by 21 points at one point in the third quarter. However, none of that mattered as the 76ers fought through a barrage of Portland threes to move to 5-0 on the young season. 

Here are some observations from the victory.

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Horford, Harris Lead the Way Without Embiid as 76ers Defeat Pistons 117-111

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Editor

It was not pretty, but the Philadelphia 76ers got it done on Saturday night. Playing without superstar big man Joel Embiid, the 76ers battled and defeated the Detroit Pistons 117-111. Philadelphia is off to a 2-0 start to the season for the first time since the 2013-14 season. 

After a sloppy first half, Philadelphia headed into halftime down 57-54 and with some things they needed to change. The Pistons came out of the half and went on a 13-3 run, building up a 10-point lead. However, Tobias Harris caught fire for 16 points in the third quarter to give the Sixers a slim lead going into the fourth quarter. 

In the fourth quarter, Ben Simmons and Al Horford dominated to the tune of a 34-28 advantage in the final quarter. Horford scored 15 of his 23 points in the final quarter of play, including hitting a key three-pointer in the game's final minutes. 

Here are some observations from the team's hard-fought victory.

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