Sixers vs. Raptors, 7 p.m. CSN
Sixers 8 over Raptors
In another quirk of the condensed, NBA schedule, the Sixers havent faced their division rival since Jan. 7, the seventh game of the season, yet will play them twice in a week. In that Jan. 7 game the Sixers ripped Toronto 97-62, holding it to 31.8 percent shooting from the floor, including 1 for 12 from beyond the three-point arc. Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the team allowed the fewest points in a game since beating Portland 88-60 on March 6, 2003.
Sixers: 29-24 (Second place in the Atlantic Division; seventh place in Eastern Conference).
Raptors: 19-36 (Fourth place in the Atlantic Division; 11th place in the Eastern Conference).
Its been a topsy-turvy last few games for the Sixers. After stumbling in Washington for the ugliest loss of the season, the Sixers bounced back for an impressive 95-90 victory over Atlanta. But in Tuesday nights game in Miami, the Sixers could not stop LeBron James without Andre Iguodala.
With Iguodala in the locker room after being poked in the eye, James scored 15 of his season-high 41 points in the fourth quarter to give the Heat their 11th straight regular-season victory over the Sixers.
The Raptors arrive in Philadelphia riding a two-game winning streak with three victories in the last four games. Tuesday night the Raptors held off the Bobcats for a 92-87 win. Andrea Bargnani scored 30 points on 11-for-22 shooting, while DeMar DeRozen added 20 points on 16 shots.
Evan Turner poured in a career-high 26 points on 12-for-19 shooting in the loss to the Heat, and has scored in double figures in five straight games. Turner also played 39-plus minutes, which is the third-most court time hes logged this season.
Additionally, Lou Williams bounced back from a shaky game against Atlanta for 18 points in 30 minutes off the bench.
For the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani has averaged 25.3 points over the last four games, including a 30-point effort on Tuesday night against the Bobcats and a 27-point game on 10-for-17 shooting against the Heat last week. Meanwhile, guard Jose Calderon has benefited from the uptick in Bargnanis hot streak. Over the past seven games, Calderon has notched 76 assists and has at least 10 assists in six of the last seven games.
The story is simple for the Sixers ... pile up the wins. With 13 games to go the Sixers trail the Celtics by 1 games in the Atlantic Division with a big matchup looming on Easter Sunday. What the Sixers have going for them against Boston is they hold the tiebreaker and a tie in the standings gives Philly the advantage. However, nine of the Sixers final 13 are on the road, including the final five of the regular-season.
What you see now is pretty interesting. Coming down the stretch you have a lot of teams Toronto beat Denver, New Jersey beat Indiana you see those teams and a lot of them are playing with the house money right now, Collins said after Thursdays practice at the PCOM. Sometimes theyre the hardest teams to beat because they dont have that same kind of game pressure.
Andre Iguodala (eye) played 26 minutes and missed the fourth quarter after being poked in the left eye Tuesday night in Miami.
Jerryd Bayless (torn oblique) is out for the season.
E-mail John Finger at email@example.com