The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers have both been struggling, but the Raptors appear to have a better chance at a turnaround.
They also hope that applies to their series with the 76ers, against whom they have lost seven of nine entering Wednesday night's game in Philadelphia.
Both teams have lost three of four, but two of those defeats for Toronto (4-7) came in overtime. While the Raptors have played solid defense over their last five, yielding 92.6 points per game in regulation, the 76ers (5-7) have surrendered an average of 111.2 before any overtime during a 1-5 stretch.
Toronto's latest setback came in OT and at the hands of one of the league's hottest teams, 118-110 at home to Portland on Sunday. The Raptors trailed by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter before rallying, with Rudy Gay forcing overtime with a last-second layup.
However, they were 2 for 12 from the floor in the extra period, falling to a Blazers team which entered this week on a seven-game win streak. Toronto had limited teams to 30.5 percent 3-point shooting before letting its last two opponents combine to hit 45.8 percent, allowing a season-high 15 3s on Portland's 32 attempts.
"It's tough when they're knocking down shots like that," said Gay, who had a season-high 30 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double. "No matter how much we rotate, move it around and switch, it's tough to play when a team has it going. I'm not happy they made shots, but I'm happy with the effort we put forth."
DeMar DeRozan had 29 points after tying a career high with 37 in Friday's loss to Chicago. DeRozan and Gay are one of four pairs of teammates each averaging 20 or more points.
Defending the 3-point line shouldn't be as difficult against Philadelphia, which is 17 for 59 (28.8 percent) from long distance during its three-game losing streak. The 76ers hit 6 of 21 in a 97-94 loss at Dallas on Monday.
Michael Carter-Williams missed his fourth game with a bruised left arch and is doubtful for Wednesday's contest. Tony Wroten has averaged 19.5 points while starting at point guard in his absence, but Philadelphia's perimeter shooting appears to be taking a hit. Wroten is making 14.3 percent from 3-point range in those games compared to Carter-Williams, who hit 39.5 percent in eight contests.
The 76ers likely need to cut down on their late-game mistakes, as they're averaging 4.4 fourth-quarter turnovers after committing five in each of the last two games. They also were 3 for 8 from the free-throw line in the final 12 minutes Monday and finished 12 for 22 for the game.
"I think we played our hearts out," said Evan Turner, who finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. "We have to help ourselves out at the free-throw line and things like that."
Turner is averaging only 8.2 points on 35.2 percent shooting in 11 career matchups with Toronto.
Philadelphia could be exploited on the glass as the Raptors' 20.2 second-chance points per game leads the league. Four Toronto players are averaging at least two offensive rebounds per contest, while the 76ers surrender 12.0 per game - among the NBA's worst.
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