By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
Toronto 122, Philadelphia 98 – Box Score
With the front office situation currently a dumpster fire, these last few games for the Sixers have assumed even less importance than you might possibly expect from a team that’s already clinched the worst overall record. The least the team could do is reward the handful of fans still watching these games with a little exciting play. Would that be too much to ask?
For at least 12 minutes Tuesday night, it actually wasn’t. The Sixers went supernova during a 38-point second quarter. Robert Covington hit 5 threes in the quarter alone (6-10 on the game), scoring 16 of his team-high 24 points. Things were going so well for Philadelphia that Marc Zumoff started firing off hip social media jargon:
— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) April 13, 2016
But come on, you’ve been through 71 of these things; you know the drill. The Sixers followed up that 38 points in the second with just 13 in the third. After the game was tied at 72, Toronto went on a 20-2 run to head into the fourth quarter ahead by double digits. The Raptors would not look back from there. While the Raptors conserved their starters for the upcoming playoff series against Indiana, 7 different players managed to score in double figures.
The biggest reason for Toronto’s victory (aside from the experience and natural ability factors) was their dominance on the glass. The Sixers were out-rebounded 52-32, with Toronto’s 16-7 edge on the offensive glass providing them with 18 more field goal attempts than the Sixers. Jonas Valanciunas led the way for the Raptors with 17 points and 11 rebounds (6 offensive) in just 17 minutes.
It didn’t help that Jerami Grant was in foul trouble all evening (5 fouls in just 15 minutes). Brett Brown was forced to throw Christian Wood out there for 19 minutes so you knew he was desperate; Wood recorded 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but tied for a team-worst -22 plus/minus.
Aside from Covington, brights spots for Philadelphia included Ish Smith’s 18 points on 8-11 shooting, and a 14-point, 10-rebound, 3-steal line from Nerlens Noel. Nerlens has a double-double in every game since Bryan Colangelo took over as President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo (that’s three games); he’s making a decent case for that contract extension this offseason.
The Sixers play their 82nd and final game Wednesday night in Chicago. I find it highly unlikely there’s ever been a season that needed ending as much as this one.