RAPTORS 101, 76ERS 96: POSTGAME QUOTES: “The first thing is that we have to guard (Embiid). Like, we try to take away his trail 3s, a lot of times he will come down and just be the last one down and they will flip it back to him and we just really tried to take those away and make him bounce it. We tried to stay a little closer to home on him, more than normal.” — NICK NURSE.

(11-6) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS, 96 VS. (12-4) TORONTO RAPTORS, 101 SCOTIABANK ARENA MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2019

TORONTO RAPTORS QUOTES

NICK NURSE (HEAD COACH)

On way the team executed in the last 90 seconds … Yes, really good defensively. I thought we really started getting into them and stopped some of that DHO action, we were just beating them to the spot and I think we ended up with eight consecutive stops to end the game. That’s pretty good, especially in a close game in like that.

On how the kids handled the game … I think they did okay. It was too nice to see, I thought OG (Anunoby) had a pretty solid game, he hasn’t played that much against them. We executed our schemes really well obviously on certain players, (Joel) Embiid especially. But yeah, I think Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson), Terence (Davis), Chris (Boucher) all made some plays pretty good. I kind of just liked our composure. I thought all game long even though we didn’t shoot a really good percentage, I thought we were composed on offence and kept getting good shots, decent shots. We never really were panicked, we didn’t seem frustrated at the offensive end and whoever was out there. I think one time I had what we would probably consider four four-men and a centre at one point. Pascal (Siakam), OG, Rondae, Chris and Marc (Gasol) or something weird like that. But that’s okay we keep it simple, we get it to Marc like I said and do some cutting and those guys did a good job.

On the defence against Embiid … The first thing is that we have to guard him. Like, we try to take away his trail 3s, a lot of times he will come down and just be the last one down and they will flip it back to him and we just really tried to take those away and make him bounce it. We tried to stay a little closer to home on him, more than normal. A lot of times you are sending your big to help or rim protect or whatever, but that is kind of why you see a few breakdowns. You have to live with some of that stuff, like to start the half (Ben) Simmons came off the ball screen and went straight downhill a couple of times. That is because we are trying to not let the ball go back to Embiid as much, so we are not providing as much help as we should there. You have to change the scheme and bring somebody else over from the weak side, or whatever. You just keep making adjustments as you go. Just again, try to guard him in the low block, obviously we like to send a couple of bodies, don’t let him get his low post game going. Marc does a great job of fighting him for position. He doesn’t catch to many right under the rim and just turn and use his size and lay it in.

PASCAL SIAKAM (25 points, seven rebounds)

What did you learn from the playoff series, and the matchup with Embiid? Just that I had to work on shooting. I had to be able to shoot the ball, I had to be able to be dangerous, not only going to the basket but on the perimeter. That’s something that I continue to work on every single day, because when they put a big on me, I have to be able to make those shots, so they can come up a little bit and be able to take them off the dribble. That’s on me.

What were guys able to do to them defensively in the last four minutes? Just being physical. Just being physical with them, not giving them easy shots. Obviously making it tough for Embiid to catch it or anything like. They made a lot of threes so we had to make sure we got out on shooters, make them bounce it. So I think that’s what we did at the end there to get the stops that we needed.

What is Marc able to do to get under Embiid’s skin? Marc is a big body, he’s smart, he has being doing it for a while. He kind of understands how to guard, and positioning. Obviously, we’re helping but I think initially, his presence is a problem for a lot of people. When we are connected as a team on defence we can do a lot of things out there.

FRED VANVLEET (24 points, eight assists)

What was the team able to do to hold them scoreless the last four minutes? We just turned up the intensity, they missed a couple but I thought we did a good job at the rim covering for each other. Pascal had a couple of big blocks, Marc was great. OG got in there and Norm (Powell) got some rebounds. Just try and cover for each other, wasn’t perfect all the time but shrinking the paint on those guys is usually good, puts you in good position and then fire out to the shooters. They obviously missed some shots I’m sure they felt that they could make, but I thought we did a good job with our defensive intensity and coming up with the rebounds.

MARC GASOL (three points, six rebounds, nine assists)

What did the team do to hold them scoreless the last four minutes? We moved around and we were in front of the ball. I felt that we did a better job of taking away their drives to the basket and not allowing their size to enter the paint and making multiple efforts.

On team defence against Embiid… They have a few plays that they run for him to allow him to separate from you. I didn’t help much off those plays because it’s set up to allow him to roll and that’s the game plan we had. The coaches did a great job preparing us for the game plan.

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS QUOTES

BRETT BROWN (HEAD COACH)

On the final 11 seconds … Well, we got a shot and we had an offensive rebound. There was more time available, maybe, to find something else. I give Toronto’s defence credit.

On the struggles of Joel Embiid tonight … It’s all about him quarterbacking the gym. They double teamed him every single catch and I thought there were times he did a really good job of inviting that, and passing out of it. We shot a lot of threes because they doubled him and that’s what the game produced. I thought we did a pretty good job from time to time of getting off the post, and passing it around and trying to find his floor spots. You give Marc Gasol, a former defensive player of the year, credit, and Toronto credit. But it was a long night for Joel.

At this stage of the season, are there any takeaways you can take from this game? If we are big boys, you’d say of course there has to be. You are going to walk out of here and find something that is going to make us better, and we will do it. At this moment, 10 minutes after the game, it stings. You’ll wake up in the morning; you’ll be wiser for it and learn things that we have to just respond to better. We had a stage where we missed four free throws, they came back and hit a three and it’s kind of like a seven point swing. You would like to have a few of those turnovers back, at the end of the game. That’s where I’m at.

JOEL EMBIID (13 rebounds, two assists)

What does this win say about the Raptors? It says a lot. They are a deep team. They’ve got guys that can do a lot of things on the basketball court. They’re well coached. They did their job and they made sure to stick with the plan they had, especially taking me out of the game. That’s also on me to try and figure out and take advantage of it. Defensively they are everywhere. They are so long and they make sure to pack the paint, and tonight we didn’t make shots. When you’re not making shots and you play against a team like that, it’s really hard. We still came pretty close, but we have to get better, especially me.

Were you fatigued, playing the fourth game in six nights? I didn’t look fatigued and I was definitely not fatigued. Obviously, the defensive scheme … they were trying to make sure I didn’t touch the ball, and that forced me into a lot of tough shots. It didn’t matter … Marc didn’t help on the picks I was setting and on the post, obviously, they were doubling from the time the ball was in the air. When you’re not making shots, it’s tough, but I tried to take advantage of it by setting screens and holding it until my teammates got open.

TOBIAS HARRIS (18 points, five rebounds, two assists)

On the team’s mental lapses … Yeah, definitely too many of them. The last three minutes, too many to count, so that’s the most disappointing thing about tonight’s loss, for sure.

What did you learn about this team today? I mean, we have to be better. (In) the late fourth quarter we have to be better engaged offensively and defensively — executing on both ends of the floor.

Did this feel more like a playoff game? Honestly, all the games feel the same. We are out there to win. Obviously, it was loud in there and whatnot, so I guess that may be where you’re getting that from, but for us it was a game that we wanted to win.

BEN SIMMONS (10 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds)

On the second quarter … I think it was just overall the whole game – a lot of mental errors that we didn’t correct. Joel had a tough night, so that also doesn’t help. When we look back at this game, we know that we should’ve won this one, but Toronto made plays.

Did this feel like a playoff game down the stretch? Yes, no. It just felt like a game.

RAPTORS 101, 76ERS 96: POSTGAME NOTES: “Joel Embiid was held scoreless in a game (0-11 FG, 0-4 3PT, 0-3 FT) for the first time in his career … Embiid grabbed 13 rebounds in 32 minutes of action.”

FINAL SCORE: TORONTO RAPTORS 101, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 96

DATE: November 25, 2019 ATTENDANCE: 19,800 (Sellout)

Tonight marked Toronto’s 244th consecutive sellout (including playoffs) dating to Nov. 11, 2014 – the longest streak in franchise history.

FINAL SCORE RECORD HIGH POINTS HIGH REBOUNDS HIGH ASSISTS Philadelphia 96 11-6 Richardson – 25 Embiid – 13 Simmons – 14

Toronto 101 12-4 Siakam – 25 Hollis-Jefferson – 10 Gasol – 9

KEY RUN Trailing 94-88 with 5:16 left in the fourth quarter, the Raptors ended the game on 13-2 run … Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam combined for Toronto’s final 10 points – scoring five points apiece.

KEY STAT The Sixers were held scoreless during the final four minutes of the fourth quarter … Philadelphia missed eight consecutive shots and committed three turnovers during this stretch.

RAPTORS NOTES: • With the victory, Toronto improves to 12-4 this season and a perfect 7-0 at home … The Raptors are one of just four teams in the NBA still without a loss at home … Toronto has tied the franchise record (set last season) with seven straight victories at home to open a season.

• The Raptors have now won 14 straight regular season meetings at home against the Sixers.

• Toronto has won 32 consecutive games at home vs. the Atlantic Division … The Raptors’ last loss at Scotiabank Arena against an Atlantic Division foe was Nov. 10, 2015 vs. New York.

Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 25 points in 40 minutes – his 11th 20-point effort of the season.

Fred VanVleet contributed 24 points and eight assists in 38 minutes … VanVleet has now scored 20 or more points in five of the last six games, averaging 23.0 points during this stretch.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson matched his season high with 16 points in 31 minutes off the bench … Hollis-Jefferson added a team-high 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

• The Raptors had six players score double figures – Siakam (25), Fred VanVleet (24), HollisJefferson (16), OG Anunoby (12), Terence Davis ll (11) and Norman Powell (10). • Toronto was missing six players due to injury.

SIXERS NOTES: • With the loss, Philadelphia falls to 11-6 on the season and 4-6 on the road … Tonight’s defeat ends the Sixers’ four-game winning streak.

• The Sixers outrebounded Toronto 51-40, including 14-8 on the offensive glass.

Josh Richardson led the Sixers in scoring for the third time with 25 points in 35 minutes – his fourth 20-point game of the season and third in his last four games played.

Ben Simmons recorded his seventh double-double with 10 points and a season-high 14 assists in 41 minutes … He finished one rebound shy of the triple-double.

• The Sixers had five players score in double digits – Richardson (25), Tobias Harris (18), Mike Scott (12), Al Horford (11) and Simmons (10) … Horford added 10 rebounds for his second double-double.

Joel Embiid was held scoreless in a game (0-11 FG, 0-4 3PT, 0-3 FT) for the first time in his career … Embiid grabbed 13 rebounds in 32 minutes of action.

THE DUNEDIN RENO CONTINUES

Work continues on the front entrance (above)

Looking toward home plate from right centre field (bottom picture) one can see that construction is continuing at TD Ballpark at Grant Field in Dunedin, Fl., the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays.  The land has been a ballpark since Dr. Grant gave the land to the city in 1930 and is now under its third reconstruction since the Blue Jays first came to Dunedin in 1977. –Photos and text by Eddie Michels.