Kyle Lowry had a big first half amid reports that Toronto has offered him in a trade, Kawhi Leonard finished with 24 points, and the Raptors held off the Philadelphia 76ers 119-107 on Tuesday night in a matchup between two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams.
Lowry and Serge Ibaka each had 20 points to overcome the Joel Embiid-led Sixers. Embiid had 37 points and 13 rebounds for his league-leading 44th double-double, Ben Simmons scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler had 18.
With the Sixers trailing by 18 early in the fourth quarter, Embiid ripped off 12 points in a three-minute stretch to slice Toronto’s lead to 108-101 with 6:59 left and get the home crowd on its feet for the first time all night. But the Raptors (39-16) never let the Sixers (34-20) get closer than seven.
After erupting for 40 points in the first quarter behind 11-for-11 shooting from the free-throw line, the Raptors built a 21-point advantage midway through the second quarter. Lowry, who missed Toronto’s last game due to back soreness, fueled the run with three 3-pointers in a two-minute stretch.
Lowry seemed unfazed by a report from Sports Illustrated that Toronto had offered him to Memphis as part of a trade package for Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.
He added another 3, which bounced all around the rim before dropping in, four minutes before halftime to help Toronto take a 72-55 lead into the break — the Raptors’ best offensive first half of the season. The Philadelphia native and Villanova alum had 17 first-half points.
The Sixers were without two starters as Wilson Chandler (quad) missed his second straight game while JJ Redick was a late scratch due to nausea.
Raptors: Toronto is now 17-11 on the road this season, the third best mark in the league. The Raptors’ next two games will also be away from home. … Toronto won the season series with Philadelphia, 3-1, with the Sixers’ only win coming on Dec. 22 when the Raptors were missing Leonard and Ibaka, their top two scorers.
76ers: Tuesday’s game marked the start of a four-game homestand after a 2-2 road swing out West. … Some of the biggest cheers of the night came in the pregame when Sixers great Allen Iverson rang the team’s ceremonial bell at midcourt.
Raptors: At the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
76ers: Host the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.