DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 34 points and pulled down nine rebounds on Friday. (AP)
Most nights you can look at the box score and quickly figure out what went wrong for the Sixers. Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center was different.
Four of five starters scored in double figures for the Sixers. They had a 2.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. They had just 10 turnovers total, which tied for their fewest of the season (see 6 observations). They outscored the Raptors by 20 points in the paint. They hit 81.6 percent of their free throws, which is about as good as it gets for the Sixers. And their bench essentially kept pace with Toronto’s, getting outscored by just three points.
Didn’t matter. Despite all that, Toronto beat the Sixers, 104-95 (see Instant Replay).
It was the fourth loss in the last five games for the Sixers, and their eighth defeat in their last 10 at home. The Sixers fell to 2-19 when failing to score 100 or more points.
But the rest of the stat sheet looked good for the Sixers. What went wrong?
“You are correct,” Brett Brown said. “You look at the stat line. We didn’t turn it over. We made some free throws. They just made a lot of mid-range jump shots.
“If you look at the stat sheet, where did it go astray? Well, go to DeMar DeRozan. That’s not a bad place. And [Kyle] Lowry. You have to give him credit. Coming back and having a triple-double with 18 points and 13 assists and 10 rebounds.”
Yes, DeRozan and Lowry were a good place to start. Perhaps the only place.
DeRozan has been excellent lately. He had a career-high 40 points on Wednesday against the Mavericks. He followed that up with a game-high 34 points against the Sixers to go with nine rebounds. Brown said DeRozan should be considered for an All-Star slot. It was easy to see why.
Lowry, meanwhile, posted the triple-double that Brown mentioned from memory. The Villanova product was the best all-around player on the floor on Friday.
“They’re a good team,” said Thaddeus Young, who had 16 points, seven rebounds and three steals. “We don’t look past them or anything like that. There used to be a point where the Toronto Raptors came [to town] and it was ‘OK, this is going to be an easy one.’ We know they have a lot of key guys that can do a lot of different things. [Friday], DeMar was big for them and Kyle Lowry was big for them also.”
Michael Carter-Williams led the Sixers with 20 points to go with five assists, three rebounds and two steals. Spencer Hawes added 14 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and a steal. And Evan Turner had 13 points, four assists, two rebounds and a steal.
The Sixers hit just 6 of 20 three-point attempts (30 percent) against Toronto, and they were outrebounded 53-42. None of that helped the outcome. And yet the Sixers were only down two going into the fourth quarter.
The problem, at least down the stretch, was the overall offensive effort. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Sixers went eight straight possessions without scoring.
“We went kind of cold,” Young said. “We got good shots, but we went kind of cold.”