TAMPA, Fla. — The Philadelphia 76ers did something Sunday night that hadn’t happened since Dec. 26.
They went into the Amalie Arena to face the Toronto Raptors at full strength. The last time the Sixers played at full strength was against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. It was the second game of the season.
On Sunday, the Sixers had their full complement of players with the return of Ben Simmons and sixth man Shake Milton. But that didn’t prevent them from losing 110-103.
Simmons missed the past two games with an illness, while Milton was sidelined five games with a sprained left ankle.
The Raptors are playing their home games in the Cigar City this season due to Canada’s border restrictions and the public safety measures in Toronto.
The Sixers have been unsuccessful wherever the Raptors play their home games. This marked their 16th consecutive regular-season road loss to Toronto. They’ll look to snap that skid when the teams meet again Tuesday night.
The loss dropped the Sixers to 20-11 and snapped a two-game winning streak. The Raptors (16-15) extended their winning streak to four games.
On this night, Simmons displayed the aggressiveness he had while scoring a career-high 42 points against the Utah Jazz on Feb. 15, his last game.
He finished with a game-high 28 points on 9-for-11 shooting to go with nine rebounds and five assists. Milton, however, was rusty. He had nine points on 3-for-11 shooting and was a minus-24. In the first half, the third-year guard went 0 for 5 from the field was a minus-11 in 11 minutes, 11 seconds on the floor.
Joel Embiid had 25 points and 17 rebounds for Philly two days after finishing with a career-high 50 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks. Tobias Harris finished with 13 points but made just 1 of 9 3-pointers.
Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam scored 23 points apiece to pace the Raptors.
Thanks to Embiid (six points), Seth Curry (six), and Simmons (five), the Sixers jumped out to a 22-10 lead Sunday with 4 minutes, 18 seconds left in the first quarter. However, the Raptors closed the quarter with an 18-2 run to take a 28-24 lead into the second quarter. VanVleet hit four 3s during the run.
Toronto went on to extend its lead to six points (41-35) midway through the second quarter. But the Sixers regrouped and went into the locker room up 55-52.
They extended their lead to 13 points (72-59) on Milton’s first basket, a three-pointer, with 7:24 left in the third quarter. However, the Sixers played like a team allergic to big leads. They were up 11 at the 2:34-mark of the quarter. But VanVleet hit a technical foul with 21.7 remaining to cap a 12-0 run to put Toronto up, 83-82.
However, Simmons made a pair of foul shots at the other end, as the Sixers took a 84-83 lead into the fourth.
Toronto All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry missed his second straight game with a thumb injury. The North Philly native and Cardinal Dougherty and Villanova product is averaging 17.7 points.