Here are my key takeaways and "best" and "worst" awards from the 76ers' 114-109 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center.
— The Sixers really, really, really miss Markelle Fultz. With Joel Embiid injured, the Sixers don't have anyone, who will create his own shot. The Sixers drafted Fultz first overall in June's NBA draft because of his knack to get to the rim and three-point shooting. But lately, he's been kind of a tease. Fultz has missed 25 consecutive games due to right shoulder soreness and right shoulder rehabilitation.
— Right now, it's hard to count on Embiid playing. We all know that he's not only the best player on the team, but the best of the NBA's top young talents. Back tightness is one of the latest ailments to sideline the center. He's missed three straight games, five of the last seven and eight total this season. The Sixers say that his back pain comes and goes. If so, then they basically don't know when he's going to play. As a result, it;s hard to factor him in at this moment.
— Based off what we witnessed Thursday, Saturday's rematch against the Raptors in Toronto will be mission impossible. Even when the Sixers had a 22-point, third-quarter lead, a Raptors victory was never in doubt. Now, the Sixers have to go to the Air Canada Centre, where they've lost 10 consecutive games. The Raptors also own an 11-1 record at home this season.
— The Sixers' three-point shooting — or lack of made three-point shots — is continuing to kill them. They missed 20 of their 29 three-point attempts on Thursday. Jerryd Bayless, who started at shooting guard, had the roughest night. He missed six of his seven threes.
— The Sixers had no answers for the Raptors' All-Star backcourt tandem of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. They basically schooled everyone the Sixers put on them. DeRozan finished with career highs of 45 points and six three-pointers. Lowry added 23 points and team highs of nine rebounds and three steals.
‘Best’ and ‘worst’ awards
— Best performance: This was an easy one. DeRozan basically had the award locked up when he scored 15 first-quarter points on 4-for-4 three-point shooting.
— Worst performance: This was a tough one, but I ended up giving this award to Norman Powell. The Raptors reserve guard failed to score a point while missing his lone shot attempt in 12 minutes, 14 seconds of action. He also had two turnovers, three personal fouls and just one assist on the night.
— Best defensive performance: I'm giving this to Lowry on a night when 10 players blocked at least one shot. He wasn't among them, but the Philly native provided solid defense while finishing with three steals.
— Worst statistic: This goes to Sixers making just 9 of 29 three-pointers.
— Best statistic: The Raptors' foul shooting. They made 32 of 35, 91.4 percent.
— Worst of the worst: This goes to the state of the Sixers. They look like a team without any answers. Embiid is injured. Fultz is the forgotten first overall pick, and the squad has lost four straight and eight of nine games.