By DAN GELSTON – AP Sportswriter
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pascal Siakam had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Precious Achiuwa had 21 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 93-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.
Chris Boucher had 12 points and 14 rebounds to help the Raptors extend their winning streak to six.
James Harden missed two free throws with the Sixers 87-86 behind and missed a driving layup by 59 seconds and the Sixers 89-86. The Sixers had the ball with 37.3 seconds left and Joel Embiid lost the ball for a costly turnover.
Scottie Barnes missed two free throws that kept Toronto’s lead at 90-88 by 7.1 seconds.
Harden missed again, however, when he was called for an offensive foul on a drive down the alley that crushed the Sixers’ comeback bid.
Joel Embiid had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Philadelphia. He shot just 6 off the ground out of 20 overall and missed all three 3-pointers. Tyrese Maxey had 19 points and Harden had 17.
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Maxey continued to shine as Philly’s powerhouse. His 3 late in the third put the Sixers back ahead in just one of a few tweetable highlights. His eagerness helped the Sixers take a 74-69 lead into fourth place.
The Sixers just couldn’t keep their lead.
The Raptors beat the Sixers 30-17 in the second quarter to close a 16-point deficit and go 57-54 at the break. The Sixers got little offensive punch against Embiid and Harden. Embiid missed eight of 12 shots and the two combined for just 16 points. Embiid entered the NBA scoring race with a slim lead over LeBron James (30.0 vs. 29.8) and Harden averaged 22.6 points.
It was a necessary win for the Raptors as the regular season comes to a close. The Raptors are battling for the sixth seed — they started a game back from Cleveland — and want to finish there so they can avoid the play-in tournament for the seven to 10 seeds.
The Raptors had a whopping 20 offensive rebounds and held a 56-40 overall lead on the glass.
Raptors: Malachi Flynn sat out with a strained hamstring and OG Anunoby missed his 14th straight finish with a broken finger. Fred VanFleet was out with a nagging knee injury but was due to play against the Bulls on Monday.
76ers: Embiid was questionable with a back pain and could get a rest day on Monday when the Sixers host Miami in a back-to-back set. Embiid is an NBA MVP pick, but at this point the Sixers are more concerned with keeping their big man fresh for the playoffs.
Raptors: Play in Chicago on Monday.
76ers: host Miami on Monday.
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