Lowry returns from injury, but 76ers put hurt on Raptors
Philadelphia holds on despite late Toronto rally
DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points and Kyle Lowry struggled in his return from a three-game absence because of a bruised tailbone as the Toronto Raptors lost 117-111 to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday afternoon.
Joel Embiid had 34 points and 11 rebounds and the 76ers narrowly avoided blowing another big lead; Philadelphia 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 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.
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 Raptors lost backup guard Fred VanVleet to a right knee injury early in the fourth quarter in their second straight loss.
"A tough game," said Lowry, who had 13 points on 3-of-16 shooting.
The Raptors missed their first 10 3-point attempts, and shot 40 per cent from the field, two days after a narrow loss to Golden State followed a blowout win over Cleveland.
Lowry, Simmons ejected
"We have to get our motors going no matter who we play. It can't just be Cleveland or Golden State," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
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 in the game that included six technical fouls.
"I don't play around," Simmons said. "I'm not going to take (crap) from anybody."
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 Casey.
"Consistency in our league unbelievable," Casey said of the officiating. "We've got to get that under control because one night it's one thing and another night it's another thing."
VanVleet crashed to the floor under the basket early in the fourth quarter and didn't return.