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Thursday's Sixers News: Joel Embiid leads way in win over Raptors

Joel Embiid, Sixers overcome division-leading Raptors: The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors presented the 76ers with a real test Wednesday night. Toronto guards DeMar DeRozan and Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry have helped the Raptors, who lost to the Cavaliers in the 2015-16 Eastern Conference finals, average the second-most points in the league while accumulating the conference's best road record. -- The Intelligencer

Randle hoping for best: Thursday is the final day of guard Chasson Randle's 10-day contract with the Sixers, who must either sign him to another 10-day deal or waive him. "I've had a great time here so far," Randle said before Wednesday's game. "If today or tomorrow is my last day, it's a dream come true and I had a lot of fun with it." -- The Intelligencer

Joel Embiid, Sixers prove plenty with benchmark win over Raptors: The Sixers weren’t supposed to beat the Raptors, were they? This was going to be an “easy” game for the visiting team, which was coming to Philadelphia on a back-to-back that started in Brooklyn. The Raptors are a playoff team, and second in the Eastern Conference at that. Not to mention, they had defeated the Sixers in their last 14 meetings. Maybe easy would have been the case the last time the two teams played back in mid-December. -- CSN Philly

Instant Replay: Sixers 94, Raptors 89: The Sixers proved their recent success is for real with a grind-it-out 94-89 win over the Raptors on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Facing the Eastern Conference’s second-best team, the Sixers beat the 28-win Raptors in what they had identified as their most challenging matchup during this stretch of success. They now have won seven of their last nine games. -- CSN Philly

Brown: 'No chance' Ben Simmons plays vs. Rockets next week: Brett Brown squashed any chatter of Ben Simmons playing in the Sixers’ Jan. 27 nationally televised game against the Rockets. “There is no chance,” Brown said Wednesday before the Sixers took on the Raptors. On Tuesday the NBA announced the Sixers' matchup with the Rockets was added to the ESPN lineup while the Heat at Bulls game was dropped. -- CSN Philly

Sixers recent winning is no fluke according to Joel Embiid: After Wednesday's 94-89 win over the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers were brimming with confidence and for good reason. It was the seventh win in the last nine games for the Sixers and it came over a Raptors team that is second in the Eastern Conference with a 28-14 record. -- The Philadelphia Inquirer

Sixers knock off Raptors for seventh win in nine games: 76ers coach Brett Brown studies the growth of teams that were in situations similar to his. He believes the Boston Celtics are two or three seasons ahead of his squad. The Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota are "a few years" ahead of the Sixers, he said. -- The Philadelphia Inquirer

Sixers' Brown: 'No chance' Simmons plays on Jan. 27: Perhaps this is why Brett Brown said with conviction Wednesday evening that Ben Simmons would not make his debut against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 27. A couple of hours later, ESPN reported that Simmons could make his debut shortly after the NBA all-star break in late February or early March. -- The Philadelphia Inquirer

Raptors coach compares Joel Embiid to a young Shaq: Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey had high praise for 76ers center Joel Embiid, comparing him at a similar stage to 15-time all-star and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal. "He is physical, has size, athletic ability, like a young Shaq coming into the league and Shaq didn't shoot it like this young man," Casey said. -- The Philadelphia Inquirer

Veterans making impact on young Sixers: The carousel of players who have whirled in and out of Brett Brown's coaching world with the 76ers would make anyone's head spin. For a man who came from the model of stability in San Antonio for 12 seasons, Brown has had more than 60 players, sent out 17 or so different starting point guards, a horde of players who came, played, left and were never heard from again. -- Philadelphia Daily News

Embiid a big reason Sixers are turning heads in guard-dominated NBA: "The scary thing is he is still has things to improve on," Gerald Henderson said after Joel Embiid scored 26 points in 26 minutes of play in the Sixers' latest league-rumbling victory, a 94-89 defeat of a Raptors team that pushed the champion Cleveland Cavaliers to the brink in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, a team Brown expressed envy of before and afterward for building a lasting model through patience and smart talent acquisition. -- Philadelphia Daily News