The Raptors and Sixers stayed close throughout and played within two points of each other for an eight-minute stretch of the fourth. But Toronto ratcheted up the defence and held Philadelphia to no field goals and just one point over the final 3:34.
Some separation was finally created when DeMar DeRozan scrambled to collect a defensive rebound, ran the floor and found Sonny Weems for a layup to go ahead 89-86 with 1:24 to play. Weems added a free throw, followed by four more at the line from Jose Calderon to seal it.
Sonny Weems and Andrea Bargnani were both huge in this one. For Bargnani, it wasn't just that he put up a season-high 30 points, it was how he did it. Il Mago attacked the rim frequently when his jumper wasn't falling early and that set an early tone for his best full-game effort of the season.
The recent hot streak for Weems reached a new level with a career-high 25 points (10-18 FGM-A), including four of six free throws and another three-pointer, his fifth of the season in 11 tries.
A very solid game for Jose Calderon who shot it well (3-6 FGM-A), set up his teammates effectively with a game-high eight assists (with only one turnover) and grabbed five boards.
It was Calderon on the floor when the Raptors pulled away down the stretch in the fourth, setting up Weems and Bargnani for crucial baskets, hitting all six of his free throw attempts and playing some solid defence as well.
"I didn’t think we played well in the first half, but our energy level was good, and that kept us around long enough to start playing a little bit better. I thought we were just sloppy in the first half, turning the ball over, and we allowed too many offensive rebounds. In the second half, I think we only turned it over five times, and I think they only had five offensive rebounds and those were our two keys at halftime to get this thing turned around."
- Jay Triano, on the Raptors' second half
Fri., Nov.19 vs. Rockets
7 PM ET, TSN, FAN590
The Raptors try and ride the momentum of Wednesday's win back to ACC, where they open a stretch of 12 of 17 games at home against the Rockets. Houston has struggled to a surprising 3-8 start and is thin due to a trio of left ankle injuries to Yao Ming, Aaron Brooks and Chase Budinger. The Raps and Rockets split their two-game series last season, with Toronto winning 101-88 at ACC on Dec. 13
|25||Lead changes in Wednesday's game|
|16-6||Offensive rebounding totals favouring Toronto|
|15||Points allowed by the Raptors in the fourth quarter|
|23-8||Fast break points favouring the Sixers|
|56-38||Points in the paint favouring the Sixers|
|“It doesn't matter to me. People are going to keep talking. It's hard when you've got something after your name, to take that out. Like assists, like shooting, like everything, it doesn't matter. I'm just going to keep working to make this Raptors team win games."|
- Jose Calderon, on how his defence is perceived
|"In the tougher games, we have found it tough sledding, being able to get a big hoop. We had a couple of opportunities, point blank shots that we missed, and that was tough."|
- Sixers head coach Doug Collins on his team's play in crunch time
|"We can do better than what we did, don’t get me wrong. But I think we just focused in on what Coach wanted us to do, and we just went in a little harder and sustained it for 48 minutes."|
- Reggie Evans, on changes from Tuesday