The Toronto Raptors may not have been able to hold on for a victory against the team with the NBA’s best record, but a similar effort could be enough to defeat the Eastern Conference’s worst team.
The Raptors look to bounce back from a close defeat when they visit the last-place Philadelphia 76ers Monday afternoon at the Wachovia Center.
Thanks to being in the dreadful Atlantic Division, the Raptors (17-21) are in first place despite their losing overall record and a 7-15 road mark. They’ll look to take advantage of a soft upcoming schedule to move closer to the .500 mark. After facing the 76ers (10-27), Toronto begins a five-game homestand Wednesday which includes four opponents with losing records.
The Raptors lost for just the second time in the last six games on Sunday, dropping a 97-96 decision at home to the Dallas Mavericks. Chris Bosh had 24 points and 15 rebounds in a game Toronto led most of the way, but turned the ball over with 6.5 seconds left to setting up Dallas’ go-ahead score.
“We wanted this game bad. To come up short is definitely disappointing,” said Morris Peterson, who had 11 points. “The lesson we can take out of this game is that we can play with anybody. We took a team like Dallas down to the wire.”
This is the second of four meetings between these teams this season. The Raptors defeated the 76ers 106-104 at home on Nov. 8, when Bosh scored 29 points including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds left to lift Toronto.
The Sixers have not been faring any better without their high-profile departures, as they have dropped five of their last six games including a 89-83 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday.
Philadelphia shot just 39.7 percent from the floor and committed 19 turnovers. Andre Iguodala had 14 points and eight rebounds, while Willie Green scored a team-high 19 points in only his 10th start of the season.
Green has started and led the team in points in each of the last two games, and is averaging 19.3 points in the team’s last four—well above his 11.4 season average.
Philadelphia rallied from a 17-point deficit to take a one-point lead with 3:09 to play. Charlotte, however, when on a 6-0 run over the next 2 1/2 minutes to put the game out of reach.
“We just didn’t execute. We missed some shots and we missed some free throws,” said Kyle Korver, who scored 15 points. “We had the momentum. We just didn’t finish it right.”
Philadelphia plays four of the next five games at home, where it is 5-8 on the season.