Raptors stymie Sixers

MIKE GANTER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- It was a game that had letdown written all over it, and for about a quarter it looked like it might live up to that billing.

But fresh off what easily was the heartbreaker of the year, the Raptors put a one-point should-have-won loss to Dallas on Sunday behind them by creating some distance with a 12-0 run in the second quarter and then taking charge for good with a 19-0 run in the third quarter in a relatively easy 104-86 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers yesterday.

Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell said it all began with a commitment to defence.

"We just executed," a satisfied Mitchell said afterward. "Other than the two tough shots that (Andre) Iguodala hit, we didn't really give up anything easy. We took away layups, we took away the paint. We made them take tough shots and we just moved the ball and got some good looks and guys knocked them down."

The 76ers finished the day shooting 47.3% from the field but in the third quarter, when the Raptors pulled away by outscoring the Sixers 32-14, the Raps held their hosts to just 31.6% shooting.

Chris Bosh once again led the Raptors with 27 points while T.J. Ford had a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists.

Bosh also pointed to the defence as the difference yesterday.

"In order to be a good team you have to pick up your defence at times," Bosh said. "Our defence was really lacking at the end of the first half. We really didn't like where we stood and you have to pick it up and create your own run. Teams like (the Sixers), if you give them any kind of daylight, they can get a hot hand."

None of the Sixers approached anything resembling hot yesterday in the Raps' first game against Philadelphia since the Sixers dealt Allen Iverson to Denver and bought out the contract of Chris Webber.

It has left the team with core that consists of Iguodala, Joe Smith, Andre Miller, Willie Green and Samuel Dalembert.

Iguodala, who had enjoyed monster games against the Raps when Iverson was in the fold, settled for a team-high 15 points yesterday.

Both Bosh and Anthony Parker said the loss to Dallas, while tough to swallow, never was going to be a factor yesterday.

PUNCH-DRUNK

"I've had a lot of questions from people who, I guess, were expecting us to come in here still kind of punch-drunk from (Sunday)," Parker said. "I don't think we felt like that. I think we felt like we lost the game. It wasn't a case where Dallas won. I think we lost.

"(But) we let it go and this was a game we had to focus on and come in here and win."

Parker, who was 7-for-11 from the field and finished with 17 points, was a big part of that.

The Raptors now head home for a five-game stint. As far as Mitchell is concerned, it's a series of one-game homestands.

"I can't tell you who we play after Sacramento (tomorrow) because it's not important," Mitchell said. "The most important thing is Sacramento and trying to take care of business. Then whoever we play next (Utah on Friday), we'll get ready for them."

REPORT CARD

B Offence: Tough to argue with 100-plus points, but the Sixers barely looked interested after the midway point of the second quarter.

B+ Defence: Facing a team without a real go-to guy, the Raptors were able to control the paint and forced the Sixers to settle for outside shots, leading to a convincing victory.


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