PHILADELPHIA, March 31 (Ticker) --
Minus the teams' respective superstars, the Toronto Raptors managed to post a road victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Antonio Davis had 16 points and Alvin Williams and reserve Chris Childs added 14 apiece as the Raptors extended their
winning streak to a season-high five games with a 72-70 triumph over the 76ers.
The Raptors have recorded all five wins since losing All-Star Vince Carter for the rest of the season. Their latest triumph kept them 1½ games behind the Indiana Pacers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
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Mo-Pete struggled from within the three-point arc, but beyond it, he was terrific.
Jesse D. Garrabrant
"We're finding ways to win," Davis said. "We are not playing great basketball. But we are playing determined, determined to force the outcome to be in our hands. That's what it's all about. This team is not going to give up."
Playing despite with a hyperextended right knee, Derrick Coleman
scored 16 points for the Sixers, who lost for the 11th time in 13 games this season without reigning league Most Valuable
Player Allen Iverson.
"It's tough but we have to keep on going," said Sixers forward Matt Harpring, who scored his eight points in the first half. "We have nine games left. We need to win some of these to get to the playoffs."
After being fouled by Davis, Sixers center Dikembe Mutombo converted a pair of free throws with 1:17 left to knot the contest, 68-68. But Davis made amends, putting home a tip with 44 seconds left to restore Toronto's two-point advantage.
"I was pretty upset," Davis said. "Once we got the ball back, we gave it to Keon (Clark) and it was about crashing the boards. That's what I was thinking. He took the shot and I just crashed the boards."
Williams and Childs each hit 1-of-2 free throws and the lead was 72-68 with eight seconds remaining.
Philadelphia point guard Eric Snow made a layup and was fouled. After Snow intentionally failed to convert a three-point play, Jerome Williams gathered the rebound for the Raptors, who won both contests at First Union Center and took the season series, 3-1.
"Each game critical here on out," Snow said. "We're still in a situation where we control our destiny and that's how we have to approach it. ... There is no need to look behind you if you can win your games. You can't depend on help."
Snow, who finished with 13 points and seven assists, had little help in the backcourt. With Iverson out due to a fractured left hand and backup guard Speedy Claxton sidelined with a mild concussion, Aaron McKie did his best to contribute 12 points and a pair of steals in 35 minutes on a sprained left ankle.
"We don't have Speedy, who in a game like this would be a huge factor," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "With Eric, Aaron,
Dikembe and Derrick Coleman banged up, four games in five days, with the physical problems these guys have, is huge. We looked like a tired team, that's just the way it is."
The Sixers slipped a half-game behind the Charlotte Hornets and into seventh place in the race for a postseason berth.
Trailing by 11 at halftime, the Raptors outscored the Sixers in the third quarter, 21-9. Davis and Alvin Williams had six points apiece before Hakeem Olajuwon made a turnaround jumper with 35 seconds remaining as Toronto took a 53-52 lead after 36 minutes.
"I don't think we made many shots in the second half," Brown said. "It's a miracle we defended the way that we defended."
Replacing Alvin Williams with 7:03 remaining in the third, Childs helped orchestrate the Raptors' comeback, supplying a
pair of baskets, two rebounds and three assists as Toronto closed the period on a 15-4 run.
"Lately, we've had a few good (runs). We haven't had a whole lot, but that was a good one," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens
said. "Especially, you are playing them on their home court, they are tough here. I thought our guys just played great down the stretch."
Childs also completed a 7-0 second-quarter burst with a 19-foot jumper to give his team a 30-28 edge with just over seven
minutes left until the half.
But Mutombo scored six points and Coleman added four as the Sixers responded with a 12-2 run. McKie's layup capped the outburst with 1:27 to go and provided Philadelphia its largest lead, 42-30.