Raptors Shut Down Sixers For Fourth Straight Win
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November 24, 2010
TORONTO (CP) -- The guys who do the dirty work under the rim rarely get the love, so when Reggie Evans heard the crowd chant his name Wednesday night he knew he was doing something right.
The relentless Toronto Raptors forward earned some well-deserved kudos for grinding his way to a career-high 22 rebounds and 12 points in a 106-90 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, energizing his team with his tireless play and determination in the paint.
Much like he's done throughout the young season, he gobbled up misses by his opponents and created second-chances for his teammates. And though Andrea Bargnani poured down a game-high 24 points, Jose Calderon added 16 points with nine assists and newcomers Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic contributed quality minutes off the bench, it was Evans' mucking that stood out from that slick moves of the other Raptors.
``You've got to look at it like this,'' Evans, whose previous best was 21 rebounds for Seattle on Feb. 5, 2005 versus Charlotte, said of the crowd reaction. ``You have so many people in this country that go out there 9-to-5 and work so hard to make an honest living, and just to buy Raptors tickets, they want to come here and see somebody work as hard as them in the real world.
``So at the end of the day, a lot of the time they can appreciate it more to see a guy go out there and bust their butt.''
There was no doubt he did that Wednesday, as the Raptors (6-9) jumped the visitors early, built up a big lead and cruised to a fourth straight win before a crowd of 15,012.
Andre Iguodola with 17 points, Jrue Holiday with 16 and Thaddeus Young with 14 led the 76ers (3-12), who were coming off a 116-114 overtime loss at Washington a night earlier and were missing suspended forward Elton Brand. They were outhustled throughout the night and couldn't match the aggressiveness of their hosts in losing for the seventh time in eight outings.
Bayless, with 13 points in just under 15 minutes, and Stojakovic, with seven in seven, made their Toronto debuts after being acquired Saturday from New Orleans for Jarrett Jack, David Andersen and Marcus Banks. They missed Sunday's stunning 102-101 victory over visiting Boston, practising for the first time with their new teammates Tuesday.
Both fit in nicely, although how they'll be used longer term is still being determined.
Bayless shared the backup point guard duties behind Calderon with Leandro Barbosa, showing some nice speed on the court and a nice touch from behind the arc. Stojakovic's role right now is less certain, but he dropped in seven points in seven minutes and was 2-for-3 shooting from long range.
``We kind of restricted what we wanted (Bayless) to do,'' said head coach Jay Triano. ``The more time he spends with us, the more he'll grasp on what we're doing offensively. ... We've got to get to know (Stojakovic) a little better and where he can fit.''
There is no question about Evans' role.
He played nearly 35 minutes and went 4-for-7 from the free-throw line in his best offensive showing of the year. Scoring isn't part of his game, but recent work on his foul shot is allowing Triano to deploy him late in games without fear of him hurting the team with an inability to make free throws.
Evans helped the Raptors wrap up the win late in the fourth quarter, when the 76ers pulled within 10 points on a couple of occasions but couldn't get any closer. Marreese Speights missed a layup that would have cut the lead to eight with just under three minutes left and it was lights out after that.
``(Evans) just played unbelievable,'' said Bayless. ``If we can get him to play like that we're going to be tough to beat. He's getting every rebound.''
The Raptors opened a double-digit lead midway through the first quarter and extended the advantage up to 22 points in the third quarter before the 76ers showed some life.
Behind eight points each from Young and Holiday, they pulled within 14 midway through the third before a late three-point play from Evans and another three from Barbosa helped the Raptors take an 87-61 edge into the final frame.
The Raptors led 62-43 at the half behind 15 points from Bargnani, nine points and five assists from Calderon plus a late boost from Stojakovic, who chipped in seven points in the final 3:02 of the second quarter.
Bargnani scored eight points and Calderon added seven plus three assists as the Raptors finished the first quarter with a 33-18 advantage. Bayless collected his first points with his new team on a three at the buzzer while Evans set the tone with 10 rebounds in the frame.
He tries to give fans the type of effort he'd want to see if he was in their shoes.
``No question about it,'' he said. ``If I'm not playing basketball, I'd have a 9-5 and if I still had a love for the game, I got kids, I'm going to have to work hard to get tickets, especially if I don't know any players, I don't have no hookup, you know what I'm saying?
``So I've got to work hard just to sit way up top to watch a game and you work so hard just to pay X amount of dollars, you want to see somebody come out here and play their balls off, not matter if we win or lose.
``So they appreciate that.''
Notes: The stall formerly used by Banks in the Raptors locker-room was left empty and any future occupants may want to think twice before accepting the location. The other players to use the stall include Juan Dixon, Will Solomon and Fred Jones. ... Brand was suspended one game earlier in the day for committing a flagrant foul against Wizards centre JaVale McGee on Tuesday. Brand was ejected with 3:32 left in regulation for a deliberate two-handed knockdown shove on McGee after a dunk.