NBA wrap: Raptors knock off 76ers in battle of Eastern Conference heavyweights

The Raptors continued their hot start Tuesday night, knocking off the visiting 76ers 129-112.

Kawhi Leonard, who missed most of last season with the Spurs due to injury, has returned better than ever on both ends of the court. He scored 31 points against the 76ers, becoming the first Raptors player with 20 or more points in his first six games with the franchise.

On the defensive end, Leonard helped hound 76ers guard Ben Simmons, who had arguably the rarest of triple-doubles, with 11 points, 10 assists … and 11 turnovers.

Toronto (7-1) also got double-doubles from both Kyle Lowry, who had 20 points and 12 assists, and forward Pascal Siakam (15 points, 15 rebounds).

The 76ers, expected to be one of the elite teams in the NBA this year, are now 4-4, and winless on the road in four games. There’s too much talent on this roster to be a .500 team, but the chemistry just isn’t working right now. Joel Embiid scored 31 points and added 11 boards. But for everything the talented starting backcourt of Simmons and Markelle Fultz bring in terms of athleticism, they continue to be liabilities with their outside shooting (they were a combined 7-for-19 from the floor against the Raptors).

The 76ers will get things figured out, but for now, they’ve got a long way to go to reach the Raptors’ level.

Studs of the Night

Paul George had 32 points and 12 rebounds in the Thunder’s 128-110 victory over the visiting Clippers. Russell Westbrook also scored 32.

Kyrie Irving scored 31 in Boston’s win over Detroit.

Hornets guard Tony Parker (remember him?) came off the bench to score 24 points with 11 rebounds and a game-high +19 rating in the Hornets’ 125-113 win over the Heat.

Buddy Hield had 25 points and 11 rebounds to key the Kings’ win over the Magic.

Duds of the Night

The Rockets’ starting backcourt of Chris Paul and Eric Gordon shot a combined 10 of 37 in a 104-85 loss to the Trail Blazers.

Highlight

Russell Westbrook shows once again why he’s one of the most explosive finishers on dunks in the NBA.

Joel Embiid throws down a thunderous dunk against the Raptors.

What’s Next

Pelicans (4-2) at Warriors (7-1) 10:30 p.m. ET — This is the only game Wednesday between two teams with winning records. Klay Thompson won’t hit 14 3-pointers again, as he did in setting an NBA record Sunday night, but the Warriors have plenty of weapons. But so do the Pelicans, who have six players averaging in double figures, led by Anthony Davis (27.3 ppg) and Nikola Mirotic (22.7).