76ers Look To Defend Top Home Record Against -Limping Raptors

SportsBlenderNBA Sat, 22 Dec 2018

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The 76ers hold the best home form in the league, and for good reason. After obtaining the services of one of the top 5 offense/defense players in the league in Jimmy Butler, the 76ers have exercised stability, epitomized by their 15-3 home record. With Butler, Simmons and Embiid, Philly is able to spread out touches on the offensive side, never having to over-demand production out of one of the three players who can create their own shot. Add sharpshooting J.J. Reddick to the mix, who now has the most talented supporting cast he’s ever had in his career, and you have a team that is capable of running with anyone.

The Raptors, who have cooled down during the latter part of December, still hold the most wins and the best record thus far in the NBA. After losing two in a row to Western Conference challengers Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets, the Raptors have won two on the trot heading into the matchup in Philly. Influential guard Kyle Lowry has been missed while he sits out a thigh injury. Lowry has been missed, without his ability to set the pace, the Raptors have gotten away from their identity, and the playing style that has gotten them to the best record in the league. Lowry is not the only injury question mark, with Danny Green joining him on the day-to-day injuries list. Newly sidelined Jonas Valančiūnas will leaving a 7’0 hole in the lineup for until at least mid January, and big man Serge Ibaka hasn’t started in three games leading up to the game in Philly.

Look for Joel Embiid to continue the dominating performances he’s put up all year, especially considering the lack of depth Toronto will bring to town. Toronto backup center Greg Monroe will have the responsibility of slowing down one of the league's most versatile scorers in the environment in which he and his teammates thrive the most. Although it is not a full force Raptors team, look for the 76ers to make a blowout home statement win come Saturday when the Raptors come to town.

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