Joel Embiid, 76ers hold on, edge Raptors 117-111
By MIKE CRANSTON, Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid had 34 points and 11 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers narrowly avoided blowing another big lead in a 117-111 victory over the cold-shooting Toronto Raptors on Monday.
T.J. McConnell added a career-high 18 points and JJ Redick scored 15 before leaving with a left leg injury for the Sixers, who shook off Ben Simmons’ foul trouble to win for the fifth time in six games.
The Sixers blew a 22-point lead in a loss to Boston in London in their last game and coughed up a 22-point lead in a loss in Toronto’s previous visit last month.
They saw a 21-point lead cut to 102-101 on DeMar DeRozan’s 3-pointer with 3:01 left. Simmons responded with a driving layup and Dario Saric hit a 3 on the next possession to get the lead back to six.
Embiid hit four free throws in the final 25.3 seconds to put it away as he motioned for the crowd to get to its feet.
DeRozan scored 24 points and Kyle Lowry struggled in his return from a three-game absence because of a bruised tailbone. The Raptors lost backup guard Fred VanFleet to a right knee injury early in the fourth quarter in their second straight loss.
Lowry shot 3-for-16 from the field and the Raptors missed their first 10 3-point attempts, two days after a home loss to Golden State.
Lowry and Simmons, who had 12 points and six turnovers, were ejected with 6.5 seconds left after a dustup near midcourt. No punches were thrown.
The Sixers led 59-43 before the Raptors closed a dismal first half on a 6-0 run. Unable to stop Embiid (18 points) and unable to shoot from the outside (0 of 7 from 3-point range), the Raptors couldn’t take advantage of Simmons missing the final seven minutes with three fouls.
Simmons picked up his fourth foul 24 seconds into the third quarter, but stayed in and the Sixers built a 21-point lead with the help of technical fouls against VanFleet and Raptors coach Dwane Casey.
VanFleet crashed to the floor under the basket early in the fourth quarter and didn’t return.
Raptors: Lowry told the team he was ready to play after pregame warmups. . DeRozan and McConnell each received technical fouls in the second quarter. McConnell jumped up after DeRozan’s hard foul and the two had to be separated.
76ers: Embiid had seven of the Sixers’ 21 turnovers. . Redick came up lame after he caught a pass and limped to the locker room. . Reseve C Richaun Holmes (illness) didn’t dress.
DR. J & MLK
A taped tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from former Sixers great Julius Erving was shown during the first timeout. Philadelphia coach Brett Brown called it an honor to play a matinee on the holiday.
Raptors: Host Detroit on Wednesday night.
76ers: Thursday night at Boston.