Raptors-76ers Preview


A rough stretch has dropped the Philadelphia 76ers out of the Atlantic Division lead, and they're falling further back in the race.

The 76ers are hoping Andre Iguodala is back on the court Wednesday night as they try to begin solving their inconsistent play and beat the Toronto Raptors for the fourth time in a row.

Philadelphia (29-24) has lost seven of 11 since a three-game winning streak, which started with a blowout win over Boston on March 7. The recent struggles have caused the Sixers to fall to seventh place in the Eastern Conference after relinquishing the Atlantic lead to the Celtics, whom they now trail by 1 1/2 games.

They visit Boston for the conclusion of the season series Sunday.

Before then, Philadelphia will try to get untracked while hosting Toronto (19-35), then Orlando on Saturday.

The 76ers lost ground to the Celtics on Tuesday, falling 99-93 at Miami while surrendering 41 points to LeBron James. They also lost Iguodala in the third quarter when Mario Chalmers' swipe for the ball connected with the swingman's face.

"I thought my eye was gone," Iguodala said. "It was hurting really bad. I had a really bad headache for about 10 minutes."

It's unclear if the injury will keep Iguodala out Wednesday. He's averaged 19.1 points, 6.0 assists and 6.2 rebounds in his last 11 home games against the Raptors.

Evan Turner has been providing some unexpected scoring punch for the Sixers, averaging 15.5 points while hitting 55.8 percent of his field goals over the last four games. He had 26 points Tuesday to match his career high, and his recent production is an improvement from his season average of 9.3 points on 44.3 percent shooting.

Louis Williams is looking to build on his 18-point performance against the Heat. The guard leads Philadelphia with 15.4 points per game - ranking him second in the NBA in bench scoring - but has shot just 38.1 percent in his last 11 games, missing 11 of 17 shots Tuesday.

Williams has converted 29.3 percent from the field in his last four against Toronto, although the Sixers didn't need much scoring to defeat the visiting Raptors 97-62 in the most recent meeting Jan. 7.

Philadelphia has won three in a row over the Raptors after losing six of the previous seven.

Toronto, however, enters this meeting having won three of four. It has taken advantage of a pair of home matchups with lowly opponents, following Sunday's 99-92 win over Washington with a 92-87 victory Tuesday against league-worst Charlotte.

Andrea Bargnani has been a big part of that success, averaging 25.3 points in the last four games. He had 30 against the Bobcats for his highest total in 15 games since missing 20 with a strained left calf.

"I feel better," he said. "Every day I get better. I just have to keep working and keep playing hard."

Bargnani is averaging 23.6 points in his last five visits to Philadelphia, getting 21 while grabbing 11 rebounds there in January.

DeMar DeRozan wasn't nearly as effective in that matchup, making 4 of 13 shots from the floor to finish with eight points after totaling 56 in the previous two meetings with the Sixers.

The swingman is averaging 20.0 points in four games overall since sitting out two with an ankle injury.