Sixers Start Fast, Charge Past Raptors
Philadelphia 104, Toronto 92
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 15 (Ticker) -- A quick start by Allen Iverson and Chris Webber helped the Philadelphia 76ers finish off a spotless homestand.
Iverson and Webber combined for 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting in a blistering first quarter as the 76ers bolted to a big lead and held on for their fifth straight victory, a 104-92 triumph over the winless Toronto Raptors.
"It was important for us to do that," said Sixers coach Mo Cheeks, whose team lost its first two home games. "It was important for us to establish some home court. When teams come in here, they're going to have to play their best game to beat us."
"We feel like the sky is the limit for us," Iverson said. "We're just taking it game by game. We're just competing and just trying to get the W. We're not thinking about any streak. Whatever team we have to play, we're just getting after them on the court."
For the second straight game, Philadelphia jumped out early and had enough offense to turn back a series of surges by the visitors.
"You expect a team to make a run, especially a team that is 0-6," Iverson said. "Once they cut the lead to six, we did a good job of stepping up our game defensively. That's what enabled us to get back in the game."
"I thought that the young guys played hard," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "We missed some shots, but they (Philadelphia) played good defense. I'm disappointed that we had 18 turnovers, but I'm not disappointed in our effort."
Much has been made of the ability of superstars Iverson and Webber to mesh, but in the first quarter they looked as sharp as they have all season. It carried over to their teammates as Philadelphia put together its best period of the campaign.
"I don't think that it had anything to do with us being familiar with each other," Iverson said. "We're just basketball players. Put us on the court, call basketball plays and we just try to execute them. That's it."
The Raptors did not have a rebound until midway through the quarter because the Sixers hardly missed. They made 17-of-22 shots and bolted to a 39-20 lead as Webber (6-of-6) and Iverson (5-of-6) led the way.
"We should look for each other no matter what," Webber said. "If he (Iverson) misses 15 in a row, I'm still going to throw him that same pass because I know that he'll make the next shot."
Sparked by rookie Charlie Villanueva - who finished with season highs of 27 points and 13 rebounds - Toronto pulled within eight points twice in the second quarter, opening the period with an 11-0 run and closing with a 9-2 surge to make it 53-45 at halftime.
"We gave it a good run, but we never should have been in that position," Villanueva said. "You can't give them 39 points in the first quarter. That's why we lost the game."
Toronto cut the deficit to six points late in the third quarter and again at 84-78 on a free throw by Jalen Rose with 7:02 to play. However, Iverson and Webber re-emerged to seal the win.
A three-point play by Iverson began a stretch where the two stars combined for 11 of Philadelphia's next 13 points, pushing the advantage to 97-82 with 3:27 left.
"The more attempts you get, the more comfortable you are in the game, the easier it is in the fourth quarter." Webber said. "Fortunately, I got enough attempts that when I missed some shots, I still felt comfortable with the shots I took in the fourth quarter."
"We ran the pick-and-roll, but Chris took it to another level," Iverson said. "He hit the jumper at the top of the key and then drove the ball to the basket and got to the free-throw line for a couple of dunks. That's what we need down the stretch."
John Salmons scored 16 points off the bench for the Sixers, who shot 46 percent (40-of-87) in defeating the Raptors for the fourth time in the last five meetings.
"John was big down the stretch," Iverson said. "He allowed Mo to take the ball out of my hands and he made a lot of things happen."
Chris Bosh had 19 points and 17 rebounds for Toronto (0-7), which was playing just its second road game.
The teams meet again Wednesday in Toronto.