TORONTO – The 76ers have been predictable in an NBA bullying kind of way.
Play an overmatched team at the Wells Fargo Center, and they'll win. Play a playoff-caliber squad on the road, and they'll lose.
Their home-and-road trend continued Tuesday night when the Toronto Raptors rolled to a 129-112 victory.
The Sixers (4-4) have lost all of their road games, to the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, and now the Raptors (7-1). Meanwhile, their four victories at home came against the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic, and Chicago Bulls. Those squads had a combined 9-17 record heading into Tuesday night's league games.
"I think we just need to get one," Ben Simmons said of stopping this road trend. "We have to keep building and learning."
Simmons was asked if something was missing.
The Sixers were hyped as one of the Eastern Conference's top three squads after winning 52 games last season. However, this season's squad is minus two of last season's top contributors in reserves Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova.
"We just have to get better," Simmons said. "It's a new team, a new year. It's not the same team as last year."
But this setback did mark the Sixers 12th straight road loss against the Raptors. Toronto has also won 19 of 21 series meetings dating back to the start of the 2013-14 season.
On this night, the Sixers dug a deep hole that was hard to overcome. Toronto had a commanding 14-point cushion at the half and extended its lead to 26 points in the third quarter.
The Sixers cut the lead to six points with 3 minutes, 30 seconds remaining when Joel Embiid drained a three-pointer to cap his run of eight consecutive points.
However, the Raptors responded with a 12-0 run to take a 129-111 lead after Kawhi Leonard's basket with 33 seconds left.
Embiid paced the Sixers with 31 points to go with 11 rebounds. Robert Covington added 15 points. But for the most part, the visiting team had a rough night until they came to life in the fourth quarter.
Simmons finished with 11 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds to post his sixth double-double of the season. However, the point guard had a career-worst 11 turnovers. He's the seventh player to have 11 turnovers in a game over the past five seasons.
Simmons said his turnovers were the result of forcing things too much and the Raptors being good defenders. "It's a learning experience for me," he said.
The 2017-18 rookie of the year said he learned to have patience with the ball, especially with an elite defender like Raptors small forward Leonard guarding him. Simmons learned that he has to be more assertive with the ball.
"It's frustrating," he said. "But then you see how elite he is as a defender and where I need to be better in terms of having the ball."
Simmons he's going to learn from this experience. But he wasn't alone in regard to committing turnovers. The team finished with 23 turnovers, their most this season.
"I'm definitely encouraged by what we did to come back," Embiid said. "Obviously we [came up] short. But the whole game, turnovers reflect on why we were in that situation in the first place. So we have to make sure we do a better job of taking care of the ball."
The Sixers played out of control, which led to a lot of those miscues. The squad was also doomed by defensive woes and first-half shooting struggles.
The Raptors shot 51 percent from the field while making 11 of 27 three-pointers (40.7 percent). They scored 56 points in the paint and outscored the Sixers, 27-12, on fast breaks.
Meanwhile, the visitors made just five of 18 three-pointers in the first half.
"We didn't shoot well, we turned the ball over and we didn't play great defense," JJ Redick said. "So that's the formula that's normally going to turn into a loss against a team like Toronto."
Redick had 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting (three of 11 on three-pointers). Redick had just three points on 1-for-7 shooting in the first half. He came into the game averaging 19.3 points per game.
Markelle Fultz had eight points on 3-for-10 shooting.
Meanwhile, Leonard paced the Raptors with 31 points. Center Jonas Valanciunas added 23 points, while Villanova product Kyle Lowry added 20 points and a game-high 12 assists.
Back in July, the Raptors beat out the Sixers in the Leonard sweepstakes.
Toronto acquired him and Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick.
The Sixers made a trade offer for him to San Antonio with the hope that Leonard would become their third star to play alongside Simmons and Embiid.
Leonard left the game in the second quarter after being scratched in the eye by Covington with 8:51 left in the half. He went to the locker room to get checked and returned to play at the 5:02 mark.
This was the two-time All-Star's sixth game of the season. Leonard missed the team's two road games due to what the squad called load management. He only played nine games last season in San Antonio while nursing a quadriceps injury.