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Oubre’s 32 points lead 76ers past Raptors 135-120; Toronto’s losing streak at 13



John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

Published Sunday, March 31, 2024 8:38PM EDT

Last Updated Sunday, March 31, 2024 9:46PM EDT

TORONTO – A deflected pass bounced to Toronto Raptors forward Bruce Brown who immediately passed it up court to a streaking Jordan Nwora, who defied two Philadelphia 76ers closing in on him and went for an emphatic dunk.

The jam brought Toronto’s bench to its feet with injured all-star Scottie Barnes pretending to faint.

Unfortunately, it was one of the few highlights for the Raptors on Sunday as Philadelphia beat them 135-120. Nwora said that plays like his dunk are keeping Toronto’s morale up as a raft of injuries have contributed to a 13-game losing skid.

“It’s definitely big for us, you know?” said Nwora, who finished with 19 points. “Right now being a little bit of a tough stretch with guys being hurt. It’s good. It’s a good momentum play.”

Gary Trent Jr. scored 23 points as Toronto (23-51) continues to flounder with an inactive list that includes Barnes (broken hand), centre Jakob Poeltl (torn hand ligament), Immanuel Quickley (personal reasons) and RJ Barrett (personal reasons) of Mississauga, Ont. The Raptors dropped 17 consecutive games during the 1997-98 season for the longest losing streak in franchise history.

“It’s different lineups every night,” said Nwora. “We’re all growing together. It’s not always just gonna be straight up, you know, it’s going to be ups and downs.”

Brown added 18 points and six assists, including one on Nwora’s dunk. Kelly Olynyk of Kamloops, B.C., had a double-double with 18 points and 11 helpers.

Brown said he played some of his best basketball on Sunday since being traded to Toronto on Jan. 17 along with Nwora in a blockbuster deal for all-star Pascal Siakam.

“I could finally bend my knee,” said Brown. “I don’t know if you can tell but when I’m running, I’m running on one leg, so it’s been tough.

“Just a lot of wear but it’ll be better this off-season.”

Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 32 points, including six three-pointers, with seven rebounds as Philadelphia (40-35) ended a three-game losing skid. Cameron Payne finished with 24 points and Tobias Harris had 21 points.

The 76ers had an excellent shooting night. They shot 57.6 per cent on field-goal attempts, including 55.8 per cent of three-pointers.

“Every time it seemed like it was really getting closer, we came down and made a good play for an open three,” said Philadelphia head coach Nick Nurse. “I don’t know how many times we answered their rallies with a three.”

Former Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists. He and Nurse both got loud ovations from the 19,114 fans at Scotiabank Arena. They were both key figures in Toronto’s NBA championship run in 2019.

“This is my place where I’ve become who I’ve become, grown as a man, as a father, as everything,” said Lowry, who grew up in Philadelphia. “This is the place I call my second home, pretty much my home.

“I don’t call it my city. I call it country. It’s a place that I’ll always (hold) dear to my heart and will always be a part of me forever.”

Although the Raptors are mathematically eliminated from the post-season, they still have some stakes left in the season.

Their first-round pick in this summer’s NBA Draft is conditional, following a trade with the San Antonio Spurs last season for Poeltl. Toronto has the sixth-worst record in the NBA but if the draft lottery on May 12 shuffles them to seventh or higher that pick goes to San Antonio.

The Raptors have a 37.2 per cent chance of moving up to a top-four pick in the lottery and a nine per cent chance of drawing the first overall pick.

UP NEXT – The Raptors host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

Philadelphia welcomes the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2024.

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