November 10, 2012
Raptors lose game, Anderson
By MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency
This should have been the perfect tonic for what ailed the Raptors.
A tired team coming off a hard-fought win and having won the first two of a three-game road trip already would seem ripe for the picking.
Three of Doug Collins' Philadelphia starters -- Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young -- were all coming off 40-plus minutes off a win in Boston on Friday night.
Even before the game, Collins was admitting he was going to need a big game from his bench.
Sure, the Raptors were without Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields, but they were fresh, they were at home, and they were coming off what was described as a necessary and productive defence-only practice on Friday.
Then came a first quarter the Raptors actually dominated and it looked like maybe, just maybe, they might get through this Lowry absence without burying themselves.
But as anyone who happened to take in the loss in Brooklyn will recall, with these Raps it's not necessarily just the first quarter where they can implode.
And a 32-7 Philadelphia second quarter put an exclamation point on that one. The Raps turned a 10-point first-quarter lead into a 20-point first half deficit.
A game third quarter by the Raptors got that lead down to seven, but the early damage and the subsquent energy it took to claw their way back into this one took its toll again in the fourth as the Sixers went on to a 93-83 win.
With the loss, the Raptors fell to 1-5 while Philly improves to 4-2.
Worse yet for the Raptors, they have likely lost swingman Alan Anderson for at least the foreseeable future. Anderson suffered a sprained left foot just before the end of the third quarter and did not return.
Anderson was in the starting lineup for the first time this season. Landry Fields learned after a visit to a hand specialist that there was enough of a concern that he has been referred to yet another specialist. He is not expected to play until the team has a better handle on what they are dealing with.
Anderson was the easy choice to replace Fields. Looking ahead to Monday when the Raptors play host to the Utah Jazz, Casey will likely be looking at one of Linas Kleiza or Domenic McGuire unless he moves one of his bigs back to small forward.
Collins got just what he asked for out of his bench, with Spencer Hawes and Nick Young doing the bulk of the work in that second-quarter pullaway.
At the half, Hawes lead all Sixers with 12 points followed closely by Young's 11.
The Raptors' seven-point quarter came on the (ahem) strength of a team total 2-for-20 shooting.
The Raptors were shooting just shy of 28% in that first half. The irony there is that scoring had not been an issue until Saturday night.
The Raptors also can expect to be without Lowry for at least another game or two. Following the morning shootaround, Lowry revealed that the same ankle he sprained in Oklahoma City was one he injured in the summer. He vowed to be very careful about coming back too quickly.
While that is clearly the prudent thing to do here, it's not going to help the Raptors in the short term.
They came into the game convinced they had lost their defensive identity. For a quarter it looked like they might have turned the tide on that score, until that 32-point second quarter by a Sixers team that looked nowhere near as tired as its own coach feared it would.
Offensively, the Raptors rebounded from that second-quarter black hole with a 29-point third quarter but it was too little, too late.
Andrea Bargnani finished the night with a Raptors-high 23 points. DeMar DeRozan chipped in with 19 while Jose Calderon had 14 and 11 assists.
On the bright side, a game this bad might just mean the end of those god-awful Camo jerseys, as well-meaning as the intent was with these things.