Veteran Martin Leads Raptors Past 76ers
Toronto 111, Philadelphia 97
PHILADELPHIA, March 14 (Ticker) -- With Allen Iverson out of the lineup, the Philadelphia 76ers needed someone to provide scoring while running the offense. Someone like Darrick Martin.
A forgotten journeyman, Martin collected season highs of 18 points and 12 assists and sparked a fourth-quarter surge to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 111-97 victory over the 76ers, who wilted without their superstar.
Chris Bosh scored 31 points for the Raptors, who made 10 3-pointers as they won consecutive games for the first time since February 12-13. Toronto avoided a sweep in the four-game season series with Philadelphia.
"Tonight was a learning experience for us," said Martin, signed as a backup point guard when rookie Jose Calderon was injured. "We learned how to close a game and make the plays down the stretch. As long as we continue to do that and continue to grow, we'll be a much better team at the end of the year."
Iverson, the NBA's second-leading scorer at better than 33 points per game, suffered a sprained ankle in the first half Sunday at Memphis. Without its superstar, Philadelphia won behind a terrific team effort by Chris Webber.
The Sixers appeared to be on a similar track Tuesday, opening an 11-point lead late in the third quarter and still holding an 87-78 advantage after Matt Barnes opened the fourth quarter with a hoop.
That was when Martin and the Raptors got going. The 11-year veteran sank a 3-pointer to trigger a 16-0 run that also featured seven points from Chris Bosh and 3-pointers by Matt Bonner and Mike James as Toronto opened a 94-87 lead.
"It was a matter of us playing the way we know how to play," Martin said. "When we throw it inside to Chris and they double, we swing the ball around. We got a lot of guys who can knock down shots, and fortunately we were able to do that tonight."
"We work on our 3-point shooting every day," said Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, whose team has made a 3-pointer in a league-record 597 consecutive games. "When we got our feet set, it's a high-percentage shot for us. Matt, Mike and Darrick have proven that they can shoot them. If we're open, we want to take it."
Philadelphia got no closer than five points thereafter. Martin drained two more shots from the arc to push the lead to 105-91 with 3:46 remaining.
"I played with Darrick Martin before and I know what he is capable of doing," Webber said. "He's a veteran and he lives for moments like that. We left him open and tonight, it wasn't the smartest decision."
"It's about being a professional and being able to do your job when you're called upon," Martin said. "It's about staying ready and I was able to do that and help the team get a win tonight."
In the fourth quarter, the Raptors made 10-of-16 shots, including 6-of-10 3-pointers while the Sixers made 3-of-15 shots and committed seven turnovers.
"We just broke down in the fourth," Webber said. "They moved into a zone and we didn't react very well. We tried to play 1-on-1. You have to move the ball, find the gaps and penetrate. We didn't do that."
"We stopped being aggressive and taking the ball to the basket," Sixers guard John Salmons said. "We settled for a lot of jump shots. We missed ours and they made theirs."
James, Morris Peterson and rookie Joey Graham scored 14 points apiece for Toronto, which shot 52 percent (38-of-73) and sank 25-of-26 free throws.
Salmons scored a career-high 23 points and Webber added 23 with 11 rebounds for Philadelphia (31-32), which lost for the fourth time in five games and fell into a tie with Milwaukee for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
"Every loss hurts more and more because we're fighting for that playoff spot," Salmons said. "We keep saying that we can get that third spot, but we can easily slip right out of the playoffs. We're fighting for our lives."
The Sixers may be without Iverson as they embark on a three-game West Coast swing.
"We need to pay attention to detail," Webber said. "Fifty to maybe 90 percent of the game is mental. You really have to think the game through."
A tip-in and jumper by Webber capped a 13-0 run that gave Philadelphia an 81-70 lead in the third quarter.