PHILADELPHIA — Toronto Raptors rookie forward Scottie Barnes suffered a sprained left ankle and left in the fourth quarter of Toronto’s 131-111 loss in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against the 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.
X-rays on Barnes’ ankle came back negative, but Raptors coach Nick Nurse said further imaging would be done Sunday. He gave the same report on Raptors forward Thaddeus Young, who left the game in the second quarter with a left thumb sprain.
“It’s tough, man,” Raptors forward Pascal Siakam said of Barnes’ injury. “Obviously, he works extremely hard, and he’s been playing awesome this season. And I know he was super excited about the playoffs and wanting to be there and play.
“So, yeah, man, we’ll see. Obviously we hope to have him next game. But yeah, it’s definitely tough to see him go down. And I know that it’s hard for him, because he wanted to be out there with us.”
Barnes was in the lane playing defense when 76ers star Joel Embiid inadvertently stepped on his left foot while driving into the lane. Barnes immediately went down in a heap and grabbed at his left foot, visibly in pain, and stayed down for several minutes while being attended to by Toronto’s training staff. He was eventually helped to Toronto’s locker room without being able to put much, if any, weight on his left foot.
Barnes was ruled out for the game a short time later. He had 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 31 minutes in his first career playoff game.
“I thought he was pretty good,” Nurse said of how Barnes played before his injury in his first NBA playoff game. “I thought he was playing good. I thought he looked confident out there, was making good plays. Would have liked him to get a few more attempts at the rim or just shot attempts in general. Geez, he put up 15, he was getting to the free throw line, I thought he was cutting well, made some nice passes. I thought he looked like he belonged out there. For a young rookie in his first playoff game on the road against a really good team, I thought he looked like he belonged out there.”
Barnes, the fourth pick in last year’s draft, has been terrific in his debut season and was neck-and-neck with Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley for Rookie of the Year honors all season long. Barnes averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 74 games for Toronto during the regular season.
Young, meanwhile, left the game after just a few minutes in the second quarter and was quickly ruled out for the rest of the night, as well, with his thumb sprain.
Young, who was acquired at the NBA’s trade deadline by Toronto in a deal with the San Antonio Spurs, finished with one rebound in six minutes and missed his only shot in his return to Philadelphia, where he began his career after being drafted 12th overall in 2007
The injuries to Barnes and Young were just one of myriad problems Toronto experienced in Game 1. The Raptors allowed the 76ers to shoot 51% from the field, including 50% (16-for-32) from 3-point range. Toronto also was outrebounded 39-36, including 10-7 on offensive boards, and forced only four Philadelphia turnovers, including none in the first half.
And while Nurse was quick to praise the 76ers, saying they were the more physical team and outplayed the Raptors on Saturday, he also said he thought more calls should have been made against Embiid, who had 19 points, 15 rebounds and four assists while going to the free throw line 11 times.
“The counter is, we’ve got to believe that, if we’re legally defensively, that they’re going to call those,” Nurse said. “Like, we had a couple of times where we beat him to the spot and he bowled us right over, and they just let him lay it in.
“I don’t care if you’re 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, if you beat him to the spot and he runs over, it’s a foul. I thought he threw three or four elbows to the face. He got called for one. OK. I mean, we’re gonna stand in there. We just need, if we’re legally defensively, then we’ve got to have them called or we don’t have a chance, period. Nobody can guard that guy if they’re just gonna let him run you over time and time again.
“We’re gonna stand in there, and we’ll see if we don’t get a few more elbow to the face calls and a few more beat them to the spot calls.”