The Philadelphia 76ers hope to carry the momentum from their first win of the season into Wednesday night when they pay a visit to the Toronto Raptors.
After losing their first three games of the season, the 76ers defeated the visiting Indiana Pacers 120-106 on Monday night.
“We knew coming in that we needed to win,” said Tobias Harris, who had 18 points for Philadelphia.
At the same time, the Raptors were salvaging one win from a three-game road trip with a 98-90 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday.
Wednesday’s game is a rematch of last season’s first-round Eastern Conference playoff series when the 76ers defeated the Raptors in six games.
The Raptors, who lost to Miami on Saturday and to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, had 10 points and a career-best 22 rebounds off the bench from Precious Achiuwa in Monday’s rematch with the Heat.
“(Achiuwa) played with tremendous energy,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “That is what I’m trying to get consistent because there’s just too much there, if he plays hard, not to be productive.”
Said Achiuwa: “I have defensive goals, in terms of being one of those guys who is being talked about defensively across the league. So (rebounding) is a thing that plays into what I’m trying to accomplish this year.”
Fred VanVleet had 24 points for Toronto from a season-high 16 field-goal attempts, five more than his previous high. The heavy volume of shot attempts was just what Nurse was looking for in advance of Monday’s game.
“There are some he’s turned down … that I was expecting him to pull the trigger on,” Nurse said. “So I’d like him to shoot those, get his attempts up a little bit.”
The Raptors were without Scottie Barnes (ankle), who is listed as questionable, and Otto Porter Jr. (hamstring), who has missed all four games this season, is doubtful. Chris Boucher (hamstring) returned and scored 10 points off the bench Monday.
“(Boucher) probably could have played earlier than this, just being extra cautious this time of year,” Nurse said. “But we need his energy and shot blocking and rebounding, that’s what we need.”
The 76ers led by as many as 20 points early in the second half against the Pacers but needed to hold off a late Indiana rally.
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers was pleased with the offensive pace and ball movement, which generated better shots. The Sixers were 19 of 43 from 3-point range (44.2 percent). The attempts and 3-pointers made were season highs.
“It’s how we have to play every night,” Rivers said. “We have to be consistent in it. The spacing was right. The execution in the first half was really good out of timeouts.”
Philadelphia’s bench made a solid contribution Monday with 36 points after scoring a total of 34 points combined over the first three games.
“The emphasis was to get the ball moving, to get the ball to touch a lot of guys’ hands, get movement, get flow to the offense,” Harris said. “And we put in a couple of new things to create some ball movement.”
Philadelphia’s Shake Milton made his season debut Monday with a rebound and an assist in six minutes. Rivers wants to expand the rotation by one player, which could provide Milton an opportunity.
“We liked the rotation (Monday),” Rivers said. “It went about the way we scripted it out before the game.”
Sixers guard De’Anthony Melton (adductor) is listed as questionable.
The 76ers and Raptors play again on Friday, also in Toronto.
–Field Level Media