A dull Sixers performance will be overshadowed by the final box score of the Philadelphia 76ers’ 119-109 defeat to the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors completely outplayed the Sixers and came close to winning the game. The fast break sticks out as the primary aspect that contributed to Toronto’s overwhelming victory.
Pace has been one of Doc Rivers’ go-to words thus far this season. He emphasises how the Sixers must constantly play faster. The club hasn’t yet demonstrated that it will back up what its coach says.
The Sixers continued their pattern against the Raptors of not getting out enough in transition and being horribly ineffective when they did. Toronto was the exact opposite, making the game more lopsided than the score would have suggested.
Through five games, Sixers opponents have added 9.2 points per 100 possessions through transition play (@cleantheglass).
That’s easily worst in the NBA. Hornets are currently 29th at 6.2.
The bottom transition defense team last season was Houston (4.5).
— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) October 27, 2022
The Sixers also lacked energy on defence in addition to their offensive deficiencies. They gave the Raptors far too many open opportunities. As Philadelphia failed immensely to contain the ball at the point of attack,
Toronto piled up a tonne of open triples (shooting 16/37 from beyond the arc overall on the night) and plenty of interior looks. The Sixers’ defence during the transition was a separate issue. If you want to fully comprehend what it was like, look up the definition of “bad” in a thesaurus.
It is unacceptable for the Sixers to need to make a stop but instead allow a wide-open three in transition on a play like this one. At least Joel Embiid moves up to block a layup, but the rest of the squad moves upcourt carelessly, allowing Gary Trent Jr. to continue shooting unhindered. Defensive urgency is nonexistent, even when Philly has the game in reach late in the fourth quarter.
The effort on this transition defense by the Sixers is woof. pic.twitter.com/hCStn03n90
— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) October 27, 2022
The Raptors defeated both Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, who each scored 31 points, demonstrating the value of vigour and taking advantage of simple opportunities. The Sixers are well aware that they need to increase their offence, but they also need to pay close attention to their defence.
They must also play that end of the game faster. The pace will show itself in several ways, including, of course, flying through screens, sprinting out to cover shooters, and sprinting back to defend.
Aside from the fact that it is still early in the season, the good news for the Sixers is that they will have another chance to face the Raptors on Friday.