Siakam has 20 points, 13 assists and Raptors beat struggling 76ers 119-109

TORONTO — For an early six-minute stretch of Wednesday's win, Pascal Siakam couldn't miss.

He scored four consecutive wide-open three-pointers over former Raptor P.J. Tucker, and his mouth never stopped moving, prompting a reporter to ask tongue in cheek: "What'd you ever do to P. J.?"

"I'm just going to say this: It is what it is," Siakam said of the trash talking. "I'm going to go out there and compete to the highest level no matter what. I am always going to go out and get my respect, no matter what. I put the work in and I'm never going to back down from anybody."

Siakam had 20 points plus a career-tying 13 assists, while Gary Trent Jr. scored 27 points and the Raptors beat the struggling Philadelphia 76ers 119-109 on Wednesday, to exact a bit of revenge after last season's playoff loss.

"Having history always helps," said Siakam.

Six Raptors scored in double figures. Scottie Barnes finished with 16 points and 10 boards, O.G. Anunoby and Fred VanVleet recorded 15 points apiece, and Chris Boucher chipped in with 13 for the Raptors (3-1), who had 32 assists on the night and shot 16-for-37 from three-point range.

"We'd love to draw that up every night like that," coach Nick Nurse said. "Doesn't happen that often, but I'd say it's awesome, five guys over 15, almost six. That's pretty good."

Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey scored 31 points apiece to top the Sixers (1-4), who stumbled out to an 0-3 season start that James Harden said "felt like we were 0-82" before they beat Indiana 120-106 on Monday.

There's no love lost between the Eastern Conference rivals. Philly beat Toronto in six games in last season's first round of the playoffs, and the sting of that series, particularly a 132-97 rout in Game 6, lingered. The series also saw Barnes miss the better part of three games after Embiid stepped on his foot.

"As a coach, when you lose one like that you have to think about that all summer," Nurse said.

The Raptors raced out to a 17-point first-half lead thanks to some sizzling three-point shooting and excellent ball movement.

"At the start of the game, we just gifted them baskets," Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. "We got off to such a slow start, and their key guys got going. We knocked them out in the playoffs, right? There was no doubt they were going to come out with more, and we didn't meet it. That's disappointing."

The Sixers chipped away at the difference and when Maxey scored on a fast-break dunk early in the fourth quarter, it was a six-point game.

The Raptors replied, and VanVleet's back-to-back three-pointers put Toronto back up by 11 with 3:43 to play. Harden's three with 56 seconds to play sliced the difference to seven, but Barnes, who was back after missing Monday's win at Miami with an ankle injury, converted a three-point play to seal the victory.

"We're all a little spoiled around here, we've had some great teams over the years, but you can’t take these wins for granted," VanVleet said. "That's a tough team that we just beat."

Backed by Siakam's 15 points in the opening quarter, the Raptors raced out to an 11-point lead before De'Anthony Melton's three at the buzzer cut the difference to 35-27 to start the second.

A running reverse layup from Dalano Banton capped a 22-8 Raptors run that saw them go up by 17 points. The Sixers closed the half with a mini 13-6 run, and Toronto went into the break with a 63-53 lead.

The Raptors committed zero turnovers in the first half.

Led by Embiid's 12 points in the third, the Sixers climbed back to within six points, but Toronto closed the quarter with a 4-0 run to lead 89-79 with one quarter to play.

COSTLY TRIP

Toronto's loss at Miami on Saturday set team president Masai Ujiri and rookie Christian Koloko back US$50,000 combined. Ujiri was fined $35,000 for approaching the scorer's table and directing inappropriate remarks at an official, while Koloko was fined $15,000 after being ejected for a scuffle with Miami's Caleb Martin.

CAMEROON CONNECTION

The game featured all three of the NBA's Cameroonian players: Siakam and Koloko, who are both from Douala, and Embiid, from Yaounde.

UP NEXT

The Raptors play the Sixers again at home on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2022.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press