Jrue Holiday believes the Philadelphia 76ers’ main issues lie in their defensive performance rather than their ability to score, though they struggled on both ends during last week’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Philadelphia seeks a more complete effort while sending visiting Toronto to a fourth straight defeat Friday night.
Since winning three straight from Nov. 25-30, the 76ers (16-23) haven’t won back-to-back contests while dropping 17 of 23.
Philadelphia scored its most points in a regulation game this season with Saturday’s 107-100 victory over Houston, then trailed by as many as 20 in Tuesday’s 111-99 home loss to New Orleans.
“The disappointing thing for me is, night to night I don’t know what I’m going to get,” coach Doug Collins said. “I can’t find answers. It’s not like I’m not trying.”
Holiday seemed just as confused.
“It’s pretty mind-boggling,” Holiday said. “You never know what’s going on. You just go out there and try and play hard every game and try and figure it out.”
Holiday followed up Saturday’s 30-point effort with 29 and 11 assists Tuesday, but the offensive end hasn’t been the problem for Philadelphia lately. The 76ers are allowing 104.7 points per game over their last six after giving up an average of 95.8 prior to that stretch.
“Everybody on our team can score,” said Holiday, who averages an NBA-high 3.9 turnovers and has 13 in three meetings with Toronto this season. “I think we really have to lock in defensively and not defer from that.”
The Sixers set a season low for points and shot only 39.2 percent in a 90-72 loss at Toronto on Jan. 9 while allowing the Raptors to shoot 55.1 percent from inside the 3-point line.
Philadelphia had won the first two meetings - 93-83 on Nov. 10 and 106-98 on Nov. 20 - and six of the previous seven over Toronto, which is coming off a 107-105 overtime loss to Chicago on Wednesday.
The Raptors (14-25) had won 10 of 13 before their current skid.
“We’re playing hard,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Nobody can say our guys are not playing hard right now. What we’ve got to do now is turn on the mental aspect of things and play the game within the game.”
Toronto’s bench was a bright spot Wednesday, outscoring Chicago’s 66-18 as Alan Anderson netted a career high-tying 27 points and Kyle Lowry added 26. It marked the most points scored by the Raptors’ reserves since they finished with 68 in a win over Orlando on Jan. 4, 2006.
“We just need every guy ready when they come off the bench to give us any kind of spark,” said Anderson, who had shot 27.3 percent while averaging 8.0 points over his previous four games - beginning with a nine-point, 4-for-13 effort versus Philadelphia.
Casey lauded Anderson, who is averaging a career-best 12.0 points.
“Alan’s an experienced player,” Casey said. “He’s been around the world, he’s been in the D-League, he’s been cut, so he’s playing with an edge. I think other players respecting him for that.”
DeMar DeRozan is averaging 20.7 points against the Sixers this season, though he’s shooting just 36.1 percent over his last seven games.