The Toronto Raptors finished with a flurry on the road Thursday, scoring 60 points in the final 21 minutes to surge past the Philadelphia 76ers 114-109. The Raptors will try to carry that momentum back home when they face the same opponent as the 76ers visit on Saturday for the back end of the home-and-home set.
Toronto was down 76-54 when it began its surge, during which All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan scored 21 of his career-high 45 points. “Yeah, just trying to come out and be aggressive,” DeRozan told reporters after burying a career-best six 3-pointers. “I know I work on them, I mean, every time I go to the gym. So, it’s not like it’s something I don’t work on. It’s just a matter of me shooting them and tonight I did. I just went out there being aggressive.” Philadelphia’s loss was its fourth straight and eighth in the last nine games as the team battles through a series of injuries. Star center Joel Embiid (back) missed the last three games and remains day-to-day while fellow starter JJ Redick (hamstring) sat out Thursday and is not expected to be ready for Saturday.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, NBCS Philadelphia-plus, TSN2 (Toronto)
ABOUT THE 76ERS (14-17): With all the attention focused on young stars Embiid and Ben Simmons, forward Dario Saric occasionally gets lost in the shuffle. The 23-year-old Croatian scored in double figures in each of his last 11 games and finished an assist shy of a triple-double while recording 18 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks on Thursday. Simmons is doing his part while shooting 60.4 percent from the floor over the last four games, but he totaled more turnovers (seven) than assists (four) in Thursday’s setback.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (22-8): Thursday’s win was the fifth straight and 11th in the last 12 games for Toronto, which is now ahead of Eastern Conference-leading Boston in the loss column. The Raptors average an East-best 111.6 points and are putting up 117.2 over the last five games, with DeRozan averaging 32.4 points on 57.3 percent shooting during that span. DeRozan isn’t the only hot player in the Toronto backcourt, and point guard Kyle Lowry scored 23 points in Thursday’s triumph - his highest total in 10 games this month.
1. 76ers SF Robert Covington is shooting 29.5 percent from the floor over the last four games, including 12-of-44 from 3-point range.
2. Raptors SF CJ Miles (dental procedure) missed the last two games and is day-to-day.
3. Philadelphia was crushed 128-94 at Toronto on Oct. 21 as DeRozan scored 30 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
PREDICTION: Raptors 121, 76ers 116