Raptors top 76ers 114-103, snap 5-game losing streak
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Toronto needed a boost from any player to halt a miserable losing streak.
DeMar DeRozan fit the bill with his best game of the season.
DeRozan scored a season-high 35 points, Lou Williams had 21 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a five-game losing streak with a 114-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
''I called this game,'' guard Greivis Vasquez said, ''I said, `You're going to have 40 tonight.'''
So close. But DeRozan still scored more than enough to straighten out the Raptors' offense mired in a major funk.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey gave slumping All-Star and Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry another night off to rest. Even without their leading scorer in the lineup for the second straight game, the Raptors won for the first time since Feb. 20.
The Raptors had lost of their five games during their streak on the road. They still hold the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference over the Chicago Bulls.
Patrick Patterson scored 15 points for the Raptors and Vasquez added 12.
The Raptors credited a change in their shootaround routine with loosening up the locker room mood.
''It was more fun,'' Vasquez said. ''We just had competition shooting. There wasn't too much pressure. Sometimes, we lose sight of the things we have done. And we've done some great things.''
Nerlens Noel scored 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting for the Sixers.
The Raptors at last built some breathing room late in the third to turn a one-point lead into an eventual double-digit cushion in the fourth. Terrence Ross hit two 3s and Williams hit one over the final 3:44 of the third for an 83-76 lead.
The Raptors stretched the lead to 105-91 with 3:04 left and sent what was left of a dismal crowd to the exits.
With Lowry out, DeRozan gave the Raptors a needed boost. He shot 12 for 24 from the floor, a solid outing for the 6-foot-7 guard after he missed 38 of 52 attempts in his past three games.
''It didn't matter who we got this win again, we understood we just needed to get this win,'' DeRozan said. ''We had to get that confidence back.''
The 76ers got the bulk of the production off the bench from two players acquired late last month. The 76ers have burned through the transaction wire this season trying to find someone who can stick around and help with the heavy lifting in the lengthy rebuilding process.
Thomas Robinson, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 draft, is already with his fourth team. He had eight points and four rebounds in his first 9 minutes off the bench late in the second quarter.
Ish Smith scored nine points over that same stretch, two players fighting for their NBA careers trying to prove they belonged. But also at that point, Noel, a franchise cornerstone, had not yet attempted a shot and promising guard Isaiah Canaan was scoreless. Smith scored 19 and Robinson had 13.
Noel did find his role in the offense and scored six points in 90 seconds, including a one-step dribble-and-dunk down the lane that cut the deficit to 40-39. It was just the start of his perfect night from the floor. It was just the start of his flawless night from the floor that also included seven rebounds.
''He's really starting to grow as a leader outside of what we see on the court,'' 76ers coach Brett Brown said.
Patterson and DeRozan hit a pair of late 3s that sent Toronto into halftime with a 55-49 lead.
Raptors: Lowry may also sit out Wednesday against the Cavaliers. ... The Raptors had not lost six straight games since Dec. 3-12, 2012. ... The Raptors beat the 76ers for the eighth straight time.
76ers: Forward Robert Covington (right elbow) and guard Jason Richardson (left knee) did not play. ... The 76ers waived center JaVale McGee prior to midnight on March 1, making him eligible to join a postseason roster. ... The 76ers had only 10 available players. ... They had a season-high 32 assists.
The Raptors topped 100 points after failing to hit the mark during their five-game losing streak. The Raptors improved to 31-8 when scoring 100 or more points this season, including 19-3 when scoring 110 or more points. The Sixers are 1-31 when giving up 100 or more points this season.
Raptors: Host Cleveland on Wednesday.
76ers: At Oklahoma City on Wednesday.