When the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers squared off in their season opener, each team was eager to see how it would perform with a ballyhooed new member of its frontcourt in the fold.
Two weeks later, Philadelphia still hasn't been happy with the results.
Coming off three straight lackluster offensive efforts, Elton Brand and the Sixers will look to snap a three-game slide when they travel north of the border on Wednesday night to face Jermaine O'Neal and the Raptors.
Following a strong second-half run last season and the signing of Brand this summer, Philadelphia (2-5) expected to contend in the Eastern Conference this season.
But the Sixers haven't looked like one of the conference's better teams in the early going. They dropped their opener 95-84 at home to Toronto on Oct. 29 and have scored fewer than 90 points in each of their losses, sinking to last place in the Atlantic Division.
"It's a disappointing start," Brand said. "We have to fight through it."
Philadelphia has lost all three of its road games, but Tuesday's 93-80 home loss to Utah may have been even more disheartening, as the Sixers shot just 38 percent from the floor.
Andre Miller had 25 points, but Brand had just 13. The veteran power forward, who has averaged more than 20 points in his career, has totaled just 31 in his last three games. He scored 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting in the opener against Toronto.
Andre Iguodala, the Sixers' leading scorer with 19.9 points per game last season, has also struggled, averaging 11.6 points and shooting 39 percent.
"It's not just about people fitting into Elton's hands, but it's Elton trying to fit in with our guys more too," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Andre (Iguodala) is not going out there just thinking about fitting in with Elton. Everyone is trying to get in sync. We need to have a rhythm offensively."
Despite losing three of their last four games, the Raptors (4-3) have been more satisfied with their play since the addition of O'Neal via a trade with Indiana. While O'Neal is averaging 12.3 points and 7.0 rebounds, Chris Bosh has seen a spike in production, scoring 26 or more points in five of his seven games.
While Bosh was limited to nine points Monday at Boston, the Raptors still were in position for a victory against the reigning NBA champions, with a 15-point lead in the third quarter.
But Toronto was outscored 35-22 in the final period of a 94-87 loss, as O'Neal's 23 points and 11 rebounds weren't enough.
"We had them on the ropes, we just couldn't deliver the knockout blow," O'Neal told his team's official Web site. "We've got to feel good about our position. We know we're going to get better."
The Raptors have also dealt with a difficult early schedule that included five of the first seven games on the road. Starting Wednesday, six of their next eight will be at the Air Canada Centre, where they were 25-16 last season.
That includes a pair of victories against the Sixers. Toronto has won eight of its last 10 overall against Philadelphia, with Bosh shooting 57 percent and averaging 24.6 points in those games.
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