PHILADELPHIA -- Twelve games into the season, the Toronto Raptors find themselves in first place in the Atlantic Division -- a dubious distinction, considering they are just 5-7 after Wednesday night's 108-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
"We'll take it," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said, "but it's early."
The Raptors, who snapped a two-game losing streak to leapfrog the Sixers (5-8) into the division lead, found some good in Wednesday's effort, particularly at the offensive end of the court.
Guard/forward DeMar DeRozan continued his hot streak with a 33-point effort for Toronto. Guard/forward Rudy Gay added 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and guard/forward Terrence Ross scored 17.
"That's how we've got to play," said DeRozan, who poured in 99 points over his past three games. "We've got to do it on a consistent basis -- not let the ball stick. ... That's how we've got to play -- get everybody involved, get everybody going. Everybody was in a rhythm tonight, making shots and attacking the basket."
The Raptors began the night averaging 97.1 points and shooting 33.8 percent from 3-point range, ranking them 20th and 22nd in the league, respectively. However, they notched their second-highest point total of the season and nailed 14 3-pointers in 29 attempts. They also had 24 assists on 36 field goals.
DeRozan shot 10-for-19 from the floor, 3-for-5 from 3-point range. Point guard Kyle Lowry added 13 points and 10 assists for Toronto, and he turned the ball over just twice. Over his past four games, Lowry has 35 assists and five turnovers.
"These guys are making shots," he said. "They're catching and shooting. ... We're putting each other in position to be successful, and it's working for us.
The Sixers, who were without forward Thaddeus Young (personal reasons), dropped their fourth straight despite a season-high, 28-point performance by Spencer Hawes. The center, who also seized 10 rebounds, made his first nine shots and finished 10-for-13 from the field, including 3-for-4 on 3-point attempts.
"Situations like this, when one guy is out of the lineup, you've got to be versatile and do whatever you're called on (to do)," Hawes said.
Guard/forward Evan Turner added 13 points and 10 boards for Philadelphia. Guard/forward James Anderson also scored 13.
Sixers point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who missed the previous four games with a foot injury, contributed 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in his return, but he shot just 2-for-10 from the floor and turned the ball over six times.
The Raptors, who never trailed after the first quarter, led 78-72 with 2:29 left in the third quarter before going on a 15-5 run to stretch their advantage to 93-77 by the end of the period. Lowry sank two of his three 3-pointers in that flurry, and Gay and reserve forward Steve Novak had one apiece.
The Sixers never drew closer than 10 in the final period.
DeRozan scored 22 of his points in the first half, five in an 11-3 run late in the second quarter, when Toronto extended a three-point lead to 55-44.
The Sixers sliced the gap to 55-48 by halftime, at which point Hawes had 14 points. Hawes made all four of his shots from the floor to that point, two of them 3-pointers, and was 4-for-4 from the foul line as well.
Toronto was 7-for-12 from the arc in the first half, including 5-for-5 in the first quarter. DeRozan was 3-for-4.
NOTES: Philadelphia C Spencer Hawes' 28-point total was two off his career high. ... Toronto G/F Rudy Gay's eight assists were a career high. ... The Sixers turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 19 Toronto points. The Raptors had just 12 turnovers. ... Earlier in the day, the 76ers waived C Kwame Brown and G Darius Morris and signed G Elliot Williams and G Lorenzo Brown. Morris averaged 6.9 points while appearing in the team's first 12 games off the bench. Kwame Brown did not play while recovering from what was described as a right hamstring strain. ... Lorenzo Brown played 58 seconds Wednesday night and scored five points. A second-round draft pick of Minnesota last June, he was cut in training camp and recently acquired by the Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League. ... Williams played briefly Wednesday but did not score. He averaged 3.7 points in 24 games for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2011-12, missed last season with a torn Achilles tendon and was with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the preseason. ... Toronto F Quincy Acy did not play because of an ankle sprain.