New look Raptors fall to Sixers in exhibition opener

Louis Williams scored 17 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 107-98 victory over the Toronto Raptors in the first NBA pre-season game for both teams on Tuesday night.

Andrea Bargnani led the Raptors in scoring with 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting at the John Labatt Centre in London.

The Raptors entered training camp with nine new faces and three of them — rookie DeMar DeRozan, Reggie Evans, and Marco Belinelli — were in the starting lineup on Tuesday.

Boxscore: Toronto vs. Philadelphia.

Bargnani and Jose Calderon were the only returning players on the court for the tip off.

Despite the loss, Raptors coach Jay Triano was pleased about how the new players are adjusting.

“Some guys are getting comfortable with each other and getting used to playing at a high speed,” Triano said. “There were some good things out there, but also a lot of things we need to clean up.”

Chris Bosh didn’t suit up for Toronto on Tuesday because of a hamstring injury. Also out of action for the Raptors was Hedo Turkoglu, their star acquisition in the off-season who is recovering from fatigue.

Trailing 92-77 in the fourth, the Raptors came out of a stoppage in play with two big jams from Sonny Weems and Quincey Douby.

They went on a 12-3 run, trimming their deficit to within single digits for the first time since the second quarter.

Philadelphia shot only 23 per cent from the field through the first nine minutes of the final frame.

Jrue Holiday made a three-pointer late in the game to give Philly a 101-93 lead, but seconds later, DeRozan responded with a three of his own, bringing the Raptors to within five.

DeRozan scored eight points and shared the lead in minutes played with Belenelli as both players worked 28 minutes.

After the game, Triano told reporters not to get used to seeing the rookie play as much in the regular season.

“Our big thing with [DeRozan] is going to be limiting his minutes to where he can play with a real high intensity,” Triano said.

“Maybe we played him a few too many minutes tonight, but we wanted to give him a chance and see what he could do.”

Marcus Banks stole the ball in the paint with under a minute remaining, but turned it over while attempting a layup in Philly’s end to seal the game.

The game was a close contest through every quarter except the second where Philadelphia dominated the Raptors.

Toronto shot 56 per cent from the field in the opening quarter but made only three out of 15 chances to start the second quarter, and watched Philly go on a 22-8 run.

The Raptors trailed by as much as 18 through the opening 24 minutes and went into the break with a 65-50 deficit.

They were outscored 36-22 in the second frame and had a hard time containing the Sixers who shot 59 per cent in the first half.

“In the first quarter, when we got set in the half court, it was beautiful. Second quarter was horrible.” Triano said. “Some guys were doing what they were supposed to and others were playing by themselves.

“If we’re going to be successful, everybody has to be on the same page.”

Williams scored all 17 of his points in the first half and made six out of seven from the field.

Bargnani scored 15 first-half points and was the only Raptor to reach double digits at 22.

Evans, a former Sixer, started in Bosh’s normal spot at power forward and played 10:54 of the first quarter. He collected three steals to go along with six points.

He brought a lot of energy into the game but picked up four personal fouls in the first half and his playing time was limited the rest of the way.

“We’ve seen [his energy] throughout our camp,” Triano said. “When he left the game in the first quarter, our intensity dropped. We’ve got to have guys that can match that.”

Calderon registered three assists, but turned the ball over four times.

This was uncharacteristic for the Spaniard who was second in the league with a 4.24 assist/turnover ratio last season.

Both teams turned the ball over 25 times, but the Sixers scored 31 points off of Toronto’s miscues while the Raptors responded with 21.

Toronto and Philadelphia will play again Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.

About this article

By: Iain Colpitts
Posted: Oct 6 2009 8:57 pm
Filed under: Basketball Sports