Philadelphia 76ers Beat Toronto Raptors 94-89 Behind 26 Point Performance by Joel Embiid
The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Toronto Raptors 94-89 in Philadelphia on January 18th for their 14th victory of the season against 26 losses. Outside of the fact that a team with a record well below .500 beat on of the NBAs better teams (the Raptors record after the loss was 28-14, nearly the exact opposite of ‘76ers and good for 2nd overall in the Eastern Conference of the NBA), this doesn’t sound like a big deal.
It’s not too big a deal yet unless you are a long suffering Sixers fan. The team was 35-31 in 2012-13, but crashed to 19-63 in ’13-’14 and 18-64 in ’14-’15. The 76ers hit bottom with an awful 10-73 record last season. Then rookie forward Ben Simmons, the #1 overall draft pick in the 2016 draft, who was expected to have an immediate impact, broke his foot in training camp and was expected to miss most or all of the season.
However, instead of rolling over, and after a 4-18 start, the Sixers have actually played some competitive ball and are 10-8 since December 8th. While Carson has been out, another rookie has emerged as an impact player. That would be Cameron native Joel Embiid, who was the third overall pick in 2014 and played college basketball at Kansas. Embiid is a rookie because he too has dealt with injury issues and didn’t make his NBA debut until this season. Embiid scored 26 points and nine rebounds in the win over the Raptors. The 7-0 center is averaging 19.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Simmons’ foot has healed and he may be back as early as March. While the ‘76ers probably won’t make the playoffs this year, having Simmons and Embiid on the court at the same time for a month or so should give fans some hope of a return to the post season in ’17-’18. That would be the first time since the 2011-12 season.