Philadelphia’s All Stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid did enough to overcome a Toronto fightback, hanging on for a 109-102 NBA win.
Embiid didn’t get his hands on the ball much in the first half but his 76ers teammates made the Raptors pay as Furkan Korkmanz made the most of a rare start with 16 of his 19 points coming in the opening quarter.
Simmons celebrated his third straight All-Star selection earlier in the day with 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as Philadelphia overcame seven fourth-quarter turnovers to end their four-game road losing streak.
“I’m the type of guy who can do a lot of things on the floor, and I’m glad the coaches can see that and appreciate that,” Simmons – who went into the game averaging 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game this season – said.
“Defensive Player of the Year, that’s what I want to win this year, and I should be in it.”
Embiid had 18 points and 12 rebounds while Tobias Harris scored 12 of his 23 points in the final quarter.
The Raptors’ four-game winning streak came to an end against the eastern conference leaders despite the best efforts of Normal Powell (24 points) and Pascal Siakam (22 points).
Simmons’ countryman Aron Baynes chimed in with 11 points off the bench for Toronto.
The 76ers led by 21 points midway through the second quarter before they had to stave off a charge by the Raptors.
Elsewhere, James Harden recorded his sixth triple-double for Brooklyn, finishing with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists, in their 127-118 win over the Sacramento Kings.
The Nets sit just behind the Sixers in the east, one spot ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks who were led by the 37 points of Giannis Antetokoumpo in their dominant 139-112 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Dallas Mavericks sensation Luka Doncic nailed a buzzer-beating three-pointer with 0.1 seconds remaining to snatch a 110-107 win over the Boston Celtics.
Stephen Curry welcomed fans back to Madison Square Garden with another big night in the building, scoring 37 points in leading the Golden State Warriors past the New York Knicks 114-106.
The Cleveland Cavaliers snapped the league’s longest losing streak this season, at 10, with Lamar Stevens’ easy dunk with four seconds left snaring a 112-111 win over the Atlanta Hawks while the Detroit Pistons beat the Orlando Magic 105-93.
The LA Clippers defeated the Washington Wizards 135-116 while the Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 111-106.