Sixers hand Raps second pre-season loss

The visiting Philadelphia 76ers earned their second straight win of the early pre-season with a 84-79 victory over the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.

Thaddeus Young led the way for the 76ers (2-0) with 11 points in 29 minutes of court time, while Canadian Samuel Dalembert chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Raptors’ Marco Belinelli and Sonny Weems led all scorers in the game with 12 points apiece. Toronto’s Jose Calderon was the game leader in the assists department, as he collected all six in the first quarter.

Both Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu sat out, the former to rest a minor injury and the latter simply to rest after a busy summer. 

Following the game, Raptors (0-2) head coach Jay Triano told reporters the team is still very much a work in progress.

“I think we’re all still a little bit hesitant, as far as where to go and when to be aggressive,” he said. “I think that we have to have more of a scoring mentality.”

“Right now, everybody has a green light because I want to afford everybody the opportunity to make this team one way or the other.

“I want to make sure I let them play themselves either in or out of a position on this team, or position in the rotation.”

Toronto goes on a run

The third quarter began with the majority of both team’s starting units back on the floor, but an 18-6 run by the Raptors over a stretch of seven plus minutes brought the game to a 64-64 deadlock early in the fourth.

The Sixers answered with a 6-0 run of their own before the Raptors called a timeout with 7:24 left in regulation.

It was a three-point game with under six minutes remaining, and as the defensive pressure on both ends of the court picked up, Philadelphia’s margin hovered at four under two minutes. 

Toronto’s Quincy Douby appeared to have a clear lane to the basket to cut it to just two points after beating his man on a quick first step from the top of the key, but was called for an offensive charge as Marresse Speights had established his defensive position on the play.

Philadelphia’s next trip down the floor was unsuccessful, thanks to a critical block by Patrick O’Bryant that allowed Weems to sprint down the court and cap off an alley-oop from Marcus Banks to make it 79-77 in favour of the visitors.

The Raptors next possession saw Douby miss a floater in the lane that would have tied the game, and Speights once again was a factor as he cleared the glass to help ensure the second straight pre-season win for the visitors.

Bench gets lots of work

With the score tied 27-27 after the opening quarter, both head coaches opted to play their bench for the majority of the second quarter.

Philly ended the half on an 8-0 run and took a 49-42 lead going into the locker room.

After stealing the ball and carrying it into Philadelphia’s end, Douby provided the set-up for the highlight of the first half as he found a streaking rookie DeMar DeRozan filling the lane, who finished the play with a thunderous one-handed dunk.

In the opening frame, the new-look Raptor backcourt of Jarrett Jack and Calderon saw some time together, but it was Philadelphia’s transition game and ability to get to the line that kept the visitors in the thick of it for most of the game.

Ex-Raptors Jason Kapono and Primoz Brezec were non-factors in the Philadelphia line-up, combining for just four points, two assists, and three boards in the game.

Toronto’s Amir Johnson left the game midway through the second quarter with a cut, but returned in the third. He finished with a respectable eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.

In the end, the Sixers won the rebounding battle 46-37, while the home side took the assists column 22-13.