76ers-Raptors Preview

The Associated Press

After leaning on their defense at the start of this season, the Philadelphia 76ers may have gotten just the breakthrough scoring performances they've needed last time out.

The 76ers will try to build on that showing in Saturday night's visit to the Toronto Raptors, who will be missing starters Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields.

Philadelphia (3-2) scored only 83.3 points per game through its first four contests but managed to earn two wins thanks to a pair of standout defensive efforts. The 76ers recorded an 84-75 victory over Denver during their season opener Oct. 31 and held New Orleans to a franchise low for points in a 77-62 road win Wednesday.

They didn't have as much success containing Boston on Friday but came away with a 106-100 win. Evan Turner had a season-high 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday chipped in 21 points and 14 assists for Philadelphia, which shot 48.8 percent after converting only 38.3 percent of its attempts through its first four games.

"Great, great win for us, on the road, character builder, team builder, all the things we are trying to do," coach Doug Collins said.

With 18.6 points per contest, Holiday is the only Philadelphia player averaging more than 14.0. Andrew Bynum's absence due to a knee problem hasn't helped the 76ers' scoring attack and neither has Jason Richardson's sprained ankle.

With those players' timelines for returning unknown, Philadelphia will try to rely on its depth while continuing its recent success against Toronto (1-4). The 76ers have won four of the last five meetings and each of their last two visits to Air Canada Centre.

They will get the benefit of not having to face Lowry, a Philadelphia native who has been at his best when facing his hometown team. The point guard, leading Toronto with a career-best 18.3 points per game, has averaged 18.0 on 61.3 percent shooting in his last six matchups with the 76ers and scored a career-high 36 against them on Feb. 16, 2011, while with Houston.

Lowry is dealing with a sprained right ankle, which he suffered in a 108-88 loss in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. He did not play the following night in a 109-104 defeat to Dallas.

Like Lowry, Fields is in his first season with Toronto but has gotten off to a bad start, shooting 5 of 24 from the field and averaging 2.4 points despite starting all five games. The former Knick recently saw a specialist due to a tender right wrist but will miss this game and get a second opinion next week.

Andrea Bargnani scored a season-high 25 points Wednesday and is averaging 23.2 over his last six meetings with the Sixers.

The Raptors will try to rely on a defense that's allowed an average of 88.0 points in two home games compared with 108.0 in three road contests.

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