Siakam records a 37-point triple-double as the Raptors beat the 76ers for their seventh win in 8 games | CBC Sports

It was a solid win against a potential playoff opponent, and it came despite the absence of two key players.

With two games left in the regular season, Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors are getting in shape at just the right time.

Siakam had 37 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his third career triple-double, and the Raptors beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-114 on Thursday.

“Amazing game, great energy in the building, the guys that were in there did a good job, they got contributions from all over the place and Pascal obviously was amazing,” coach Nick Nurse said.

Gary Trent Jr. scored 30 points, while Precious Achiuwa had a career-high five 3-pointers in a 20-point performance.

“It’s been good,” Achiuwa said of his big improvement from long range. “My teammates and coaching staff trust me to make those shots. There’s nothing really complicated about it.”

CLOCK | The Raptors’ Siakam records his third career triple-double:

Siakam’s monstrous triple-double leads Raptors past 76ers

Toronto beats Philadelphia 119-114, Pascal Siakam registers 37 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists for the third triple-double of his career. 1:20

Scottie Barnes had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors (47-33), who were missing starters Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby. VanVleet took the night off to rest his sore knee, while Anunoby (thigh contusion) is expected to play on Sunday.

Joel Embiid had 30 points to lead the Sixers, who lost for the first time in four games. The Philadelphia big man will be a handful if the Raptors and Sixers meet in the playoffs.

“He’s an amazing player,” Achiuwa said. “We don’t have anyone on our team that matches him in size, but we have quickness, speed and length, so we use that to our advantage.”

Two nights after clinching a playoff spot with a win over Atlanta, the Raptors trailed by 15 points early Thursday morning. But they quickly turned it around and were up 97-95 to start the fourth quarter.

Achiuwa’s fifth 3-pointer of the night saw the Raptors go up 102-92 with 6:48 left, and brought out the 19,800 capacity Scotiabank Arena, which included Drake and Alek Manoah and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays. At his feet.

Danny Green’s 3-pointer off the Raptors’ bench cut the deficit to four points with 2:13 remaining, but Siakam responded with a fabulous zig-zag move around Embiid to score. On Philly’s next possession, Siakam stole the ball from James Harden and Barnes ran down the court for a thunderous dunk for an eight-point difference.

Siakam went to the free throw line in the closing seconds to chants of “MVP!”

“I didn’t really hear it, but obviously a great atmosphere,” Siakam said. “I think we miss him a lot…a couple of years it’s been tough playing without fans.” [last season in Tampa, Fla., and parts of this season in Toronto due to COVID-19 regulations]. It feels good to have our hometown crowd back and just the energy, the vibe is a little bit different.”

Green finally received his NBA championship ring from the 2019 Raptors, 1,030 days after Toronto won the Larry O’Brien trophy. A confluence of events surrounding COVID-19, including the Raptors playing out of Florida last season, pushed the ceremony back to Thursday. Green was treated to a video tribute and standing ovation, and VanVleet and Siakam presented the massive diamond-encrusted ring.

“Great, just what I hoped it would be,” said Green, who was wearing a red sequined jacket. “Obviously having Fred and Pascal, just a few guys on that team are still there, to present the ring to me…it was good to see them.”

CLOCK | Danny Green finally receives the Raptors’ 2018-19 championship ring:

Danny Green receives the NBA championship ring from the Raptors

Former Raptor Danny Green, playing in his first regular season game in Toronto since winning the NBA title in 2019, receives his championship ring. 0:53

The festive moment was quickly marred by the Raptors’ awful start. The Sixers hit seven 3-pointers in the first quarter and Embiid’s dunk put the visitors up 17-2 before the game was five minutes old. The Raptors responded with a 12-3 run and trailed 33-26 to start the second.

Trent Jr.’s 3-pointer at 9:23 of the second quarter capped a 9-1 run by the Raptors for their first lead since the opening points of the game. Achiuwa’s second 3-pointer put Toronto up by five, but the Sixers finished the fourth on a 7-1 run to lead 60-56 at halftime.

Siakam led the way with 15 points in the third quarter, and his jump shot with 1.8 seconds left sent Toronto into fourth with a two-point lead.

The Raptors’ postseason opponent might not be decided until the various regular-season finales on Sunday, with Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia battling it out for second through fourth in the East.

The Raptors host Houston on Friday and then conclude the regular season in New York on Sunday.

Philadelphia guard Matisse Thybulle was listed as “not eligible to play” in Toronto, meaning he also wouldn’t be able to play at Scotiabank Arena if the Raptors and Sixers met in the playoffs. Players must be vaccinated in order to play in Canada. The opposite is true for Toronto players traveling south of the border, but the entire Raptors roster is vaccinated.

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