TORONTO - Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey each scored 34 points in leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 114-107 win over the Raptors in Nick Nurse's first trip back to Toronto on Saturday.
Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 points off the bench for Philadelphia (1-1), which earned its first win of the new NBA season.
Nurse was with the Raptors from 2013-2018 as an assistant coach before being promoted to head coach, which lasted from 2018 until his firing on April 21.
He was met with applause by the Scotiabank Arena crowd upon his pre-game introduction and a standing ovation during a first quarter timeout when “Thank You Nick” was shown on the videoboard.
Nurse, who was hired by the 76ers on June 1 to be their head coach, led the Raptors to their lone NBA title in his first season at the helm.
Scottie Barnes had a team-high 24 points for Toronto (1-2), which suffered its second straight loss. Rookie Gradey Dick scored 16 for his first career regular-season points.
The Raptors were missing 2022-23 NBA all-defensive second team forward O.G. Anunoby due to muscle cramps.
Toronto was hot to start, going a perfect 7-for-7 from three-point range and 14-for-24 from the field in the opening quarter. Dick made his first NBA basket, for three of his eight points in the frame, to the pleasure of the crowd.
The Raptors went up 36-27 to end the quarter, capped by a 23-foot Dick three.
Philadelphia slowly chipped away at that lead in the second quarter. Maxey hit just the second 76ers three at 5:07 for their first lead, 51-48, since 8:44 of the first. But Toronto answered with an 11-0 run that eventually led to a 59-56 lead entering halftime.
Philadelphia opened the third quarter on a 15-2 run, with eight coming from Embiid, just over four minutes in.
Down 13 almost halfway through the frame, though, the Raptors returned fire. Toronto went on a 10-2 run, with Barnes scoring eight straight on his own.
But the 76ers kept the Raptors at bay, thanks to Maxey's 14 points and Embiid's 15 in the frame alone, and took a 91-79 edge into the fourth.
Dennis Schroder scored back-to-back threes in cutting the deficit to single digits. After Tobias Harris made it a 100-92 contest for Philadelphia, Dick answered with a straightaway three with 6:20 left in the game.
But Maxey punctuated a 7-0 run with his seventh three of the game to give the 76ers a 12-point advantage with 4:15 remaining. The Raptors failed to cut the deficit to under seven from that point on.
'IT WAS TIME'
Nurse was given the boot by the Raptors after a 41-41 year that concluded with a play-in tournament loss to Chicago to miss the post-season. It was the second time in three years Toronto had missed the playoffs.
However, Nurse said pre-game that he wasn't disappointed by his firing.
“I think like I said when I left, many times, was is felt like it was time, probably for both sides and still feels that way to me looking around,” he said.
“I look at them play and they look like they're playing great and I'm really enjoying coaching this team, so I think everybody's where they're supposed to be.”
The Raptors play the second of their three-game homestand with a matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
The 76ers take on the Trail Blazers on Sunday in the first of a five-game homestand.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2023.