Lowry has big half amid trade rumours, Raptors hold off 76ers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Kyle Lowry doesn’t want to play for any team but Toronto.

A detour through his hometown is always welcome, though.

Lowry had a big first half amid reports that Toronto has offered him in a trade, Kawhi Leonard finished with 24 points, and the Raptors held off the Philadelphia 76ers 119-107 on Tuesday night in a matchup between two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams.

Lowry, a Philadelphia native and former Villanova star, had 17 points in the first half and finished with 20. He seemed unfazed by a report from Sports Illustrated that Toronto had offered him to Memphis as part of a trade package for Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.

“I personally want to be in Toronto,’’ Lowry said. “I’ve never asked for a trade. My goal is to try to win a championship here, and that’s what I want to do.’’

Serge Ibaka also had 20 points to help the Raptors overcome the Joel Embiid-led Sixers. Embiid had 37 points and 13 rebounds for his league-leading 44th double-double, while Ben Simmons scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler had 18.

With the Sixers trailing by 18 early in the fourth quarter, Embiid ripped off 12 points in a three-minute stretch to slice Toronto’s lead to 108-101 with 6:59 left and get the home crowd on its feet for the first time all night. But the Raptors (39-16) never let the Sixers (34-20) get closer than seven.

“Offensively, defensively, they were just better than us,’’ Embiid said. “But I’m proud of our effort in the second half.’’

Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry (L) tries to get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers’ Mike Muscala during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the two teams in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. – AP