NBA

Raptors look to close gap on Sixers in Eastern Conference

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The Sports Network
1/9/2013 12:55:45 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Toronto Raptors can take another step closer to a potential playoff spot in the Eastern Conference when they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

The Raptors, who are only two games behind the Sixers for ninth place, have lost two straight after a brilliant run of basketball.

Prior to home losses to the Sacramento Kings on Friday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, the Raptors had won eight of nine. Wednesday's game is the fourth in a six-game homestand.

The Raptors fell to the reigning Western Conference Champion Thunder on Sunday, 104-92. Down two at the half, the Raptors lost the third quarter by nine and Oklahoma City held on down the stretch.

Toronto committed 17 turnovers, which led to 23 Thunder points.

"We compete, we fight, we did a lot of good things," guard Jose Calderon said. "But against this team we cannot make one turnover, you make a mistake you're going to pay for that. I think every little mistake we made tonight it turned into a basket or a foul or something."

Alan Anderson had another great night off the bench for the Raptors with 27 points. Amir Johnson had 19 and Calderon finished with 10 points and 11 assists.

The 76ers, who have dropped seven of their last nine and came home from an eight- game road trip, will try to halt a four-game losing streak.

The Sixers fell to the Brooklyn Nets, 109-89, Tuesday in Philadelphia.

It was a one-point game at the half, then Brooklyn went on an 18-2 run to start the third quarter. The Nets won the period 35-14 and the game turned into a laugher by the fourth.

Jrue Holiday led the way for the Sixers with 19 points and eight assists, although he did commit four turnovers, which is right around his average, the second-highest in the league.

The Sixers endured the long road trip and play most of their games in January in the Wells Fargo Center. That didn't mean much on Tuesday as the Sixers looked and played like they were exhausted.

"As I said yesterday, I thought we were an incredibly tired team," said head coach Doug Collins. "I think tonight we played that way. No rest for the weary, we've got to get on a plane and go to Toronto."

The Sixers have taken both of this season's matchups with their fellow Atlantic Division rival. Philly won 93-83 on Nov. 10 in Toronto, then followed up 10 days later with a 106-98 victory at home.

Ed Davis (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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