Preview: Toronto At Philadelphia
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, January 9, 2016
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Toronto Raptors seek to defeat Philadelphia for the 11th consecutive time when they visit the 76ers on Saturday. Two of the victories have occurred this season as the Raptors prevailed by an average margin of 18 points.
Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan continued his hot streak with a season-best 35 points in Friday’s 97-88 victory over the Washington Wizards. DeRozan has scored 30 or more points in four of the past 12 games and is averaging 25.7 points during the stretch. Philadelphia is 3-4 in its last seven contests after opening the season with 30 losses in 31 games. The 76ers are 1-1 on a six-game homestand that began with a 10-point victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves before they were routed 126-98 by the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN 2 (Toronto), CSN Philadelphia
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (23-15): DeRozan increased his scoring average to a career-best 23 per game and has a solid chance at being named to play in his second All-Star game. Toronto coach Dwane Casey praised DeRozan after Friday’s game for “playing efficient basketball” of late while point guard Kyle Lowry marveled over the second-half performance in which DeRozan scored 11 points in the third quarter and 10 in the fourth. “He could go 0-for-20, but at the end of the day we’re still going to keep feeding him the ball and we want him to take those shots that we know he can make,” Lowry told reporters.
ABOUT THE 76ERS (4-34): Center Jahlil Okafor was one of the few bright spots in the loss to the Hawks as he scored 21 points in 27 minutes. Okafor has scored 20 or more points in two of the past three games and his 14 20-point outings are the most among all NBA rookies. Philadelphia’s improved play coincided with the acquisition of point guard Ish Smith from the New Orleans Pelicans and Smith has averaged 14.3 points and eight assists during the seven-game stretch.
1. Okafor is averaging 24.5 points and 10.5 rebounds against Toronto – he matched his season high of 26 points in the first meeting.
2. Raptors reserve SF Terrence Ross (back) left Friday’s contest and is questionable to play against the 76ers.
3. Veteran PF Elton Brand signed with Philadelphia earlier this week but hasn’t played yet because of his conditioning not being up to par.
PREDICTION: Raptors 112, 76ers 96