Philadelphia hoping to rally around injured Josh Richardson
The Philadelphia 76ers lost more than a bar-measuring game against Eastern Conference rival Toronto Raptors, but also their starting shooting guard Josh Richardson, who exited the game with a left hamstring strain less than five minutes in.
Richardson represented the perfect three-and-D player that would give the Sixers balance, but without him and franchise pillar Joel Embiid, the Sixers find themselves short of bodies to make an impact in the East.
“I see it as an opportunity,” said Sixers head coach Brett Brown after a 107-95 loss to the Raptors, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “Something will happen out of this, where something will emerge. The spirit of the group is incredible. I really like coaching the team. They’ve got a togetherness, and we’ll figure this out. And then, in the not-too-distant future, here comes Jo, whatever that means, and we’ll deal with J-Rich’s injury on the terms I just said.”
The Sixers acquired Richardson in the sign-and-trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat, and he’s been a valuable stabilizing presence in the wing, defending the opposing team’s best player and making the occasional 3-pointer to help them space out the floor.
Ben Simmons, who finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 38 minutes of action against the Raptors, noted his team needs to take the collective initiative to make something happen in his absence.
“Somebody has to step up,” said the Sixers point forward. “That’s everybody. One guy goes down, everybody has got to step up.”
The Sixers were trending positively, winners of four straight games before their loss to the Raptors, but they will face some serious tests in upcoming games against the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and the Milwaukee Bucks — four of their opponents in the next six games.