Raptors halfway there

Raptors' Quincy Douby drives the net while 76ers' Jason Kapono defends during first half pre-season...

Raptors' Quincy Douby drives the net while 76ers' Jason Kapono defends during first half pre-season action in Toronto on Wednesday. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

The defence got cleaned up considerably from the night before but the offence continues to sputter.

That sums up game two of the Raptors pre-season, which promises to be just under a month of on-the-job training for a club that is still learning each others tendencies, not to mention a completely new offence and defence.

But it was the defence that got the attention before yesterday's game and Jay Triano's troops responded in a much more balanced 84-79 loss to the visiting Philadelphia 76ers.

Gone were the easy layups that the Sixers dined out on Tuesday night in London. Also gone was the easy penetration as the Sixers all but took up residence in the Toronto paint.

Philadelphia point guard Louis Williams, who schooled the Raps a night earlier as he cruised to the basket time and again beating his man on a regular basis, was bottled up last night to the tune of just six first-half points and finished with just eight.

"Our guys did a lot better on the defensive end," Triano said.

"I think the one thing we would like to do a little better is not foul them so much, but I'd rather be more aggressive than not. We were better at the defensive end for sure."

They couldn't help but be better after turning the ball over 25 times the night before. Last night, it was 17 turnovers.

As upset as Triano was with that inability to take care of the ball the night before, it was the lack of support his on-the-ball defenders got from the guys behind them that really bothered the coach.

Last night when Andre Iguodala or Williams beat his man, there was help waiting to turn the Sixers' ball handlers away from the basket eliminating those easy buckets that were far too frequent the night before.

Offensively, though, any lessons learned from the night before were few and far between.

Triano's same lament -- "Everybody was holding the ball, waiting for someone to get open or do something" -- of a night earlier was still applicable.

Were it not for Marco Bellinelli jacking up shots at every given opportunity and Sonny Weems, who tied Belinelli with a team-high 12 points, the Raps might not have even reached 60 shots on the night.

Granted, when you're playing without the likes of Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu, two guys who figure to provide the bulk of the Raptors scoring this year, the offence is going to lag.

There was some positive news on the Bosh front as there's a good chance he will travel with the team to Minnesota.

If he makes it on the plane, he'll almost certainly see some court time as the team is unlikely to have him travel and then not play. Neither Turkoglu nor Antoine Wright, who is out with a sore right knee, will make the trip.

Rookie DeMar DeRozan's night mirrored that of his team as his defence took a step forward, but his offence failed to keep pace.

Offensively he got off to a great start hitting all four of his field goal attempts in the first half. Then he went 0-for-6 from the field in the second half, including back-to-back missed shots just as he came into the game in the fourth quarter that quickly earned him a return to the bench and a few words from his coach.

"He took two bad shots," Triano said explaining his quick hook for the rook.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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