In the Movie Rocky II, Rocky wins a huge rematch vs the Champion Apollo Creed. The Raptors are not the champs in fact they are trying to rebound from a late round K.O at the hands of the champs. Philadelphia is not exactly Rocky Balboa as they were no under dog heading into this season. But things have not went as advertised for the Sixers. They are hungry and desperate for a win. The Raptors must match that type of intensity that they should get from Philly. Who will come out on top with the win? That is what we are fixing to find out. As I mentioned the all time series is even at 25 all time. Some of the best games in Raptor history were against this Sixer club. The playoff series between these to back in the days of Vince and A.I was a true classic. But now it is Bosh and Brand, Iguodala and J.O a whole new cast to carry on a rivalry between the two for the next generation.
Kris Humphries was a scratch for tonight's game with a minor injury. Philly is wearing some funky new red uniforms. They remind me of the New Jersey alternates. But enough of the fashion file let's ball. Raps opening offensive set was a drive from the side and score for Jose Calderon. Sixers missed on their first 3 trips up the floor. J.O had a block on Sam Dalembert. But the Raptors were still only up 2-0. Both teams were struggling early. The Sixers would finally score and a quick response from CB4 on the other end. Andre Iguodala would get a questionable call against J.O that would send him to the line. Iggy mad both free throws and we were tied at 4. A Calderon Turnover got cashed in by Andre Miller. Another turnover and Elton Brand had a score and it was 8-4 in the blink of an eye.
Andre Miller would be fouled and sent to the line he converted both. J.O got a much needed offensive board on an Anthony Parker miss and he would score and head to the line making the extra point. Anthony Parker was struggling and replaced by Jason Kapono. Sixers would get a bucket and Thaddeus Young was looking to get another, but Chris Bosh was able to draw the offensive foul, and it was 12-7 Sixers mid-way through the first quarter. Raptors were taking jumpers and missing Jamario Moon the latest not to hit. The raptors were shooting 3-13 in the quarter. Elton Brand would get the easy lay-up on the other end. Finally the Raptors looked inside to J.O and than to Bosh for back to back baskets. Willie Green had check in for Philly and he hit a jumper. Andre Miller would make a mid-range jumper and it was 18-11 Sixers.
Miller would score again on a post up move on Jose Calderon. Elton Brand would score and this was ugly early as Sam Mitchell was forced into calling a time-out with his team down 10 points at 21-11. It was another one of those slow awful Raptor starts. Chris Bosh would score out of the time out. Raptors needed a lot more of that. But next time up the floor it was a Bargnani jumper and a miss. Joey Graham fumbled the ball out of bounds and it was just the latest mistake of a number of them. Andre Iguodala would make the Raptors pay with a 3 pointer. Even worse news than the Raptors pitiful performance was the fact Jose Calderon ended the quarter holding his hamstring and heading to the locker room. This was the worst thing possible that could happen to the Raptors at this point.
Raptors shot 27% from the field. That was a big reason for the score of 26-13 after 1st quarter. Will Solomon had checked in for the injured Calderon. The Sixers could care less about the Raptors problems has they were in bad need of a win. They had scored 2 buckets with no response from the Raptors. Andrea Bargnani had a monster jam. But I was not getting all that excited with Calderon in the back and who knows if he would return. But Andrea was trying to be a spark as he would drop a three point shot for the Raptors. But the score was getting out of control at 33-18 Sixers.
Anthony Parker would make a shot...FINALLY. But the Raptors had spotted Philly a huge lead and with no starting point guard this was going to be a massive challenge to comeback. All the energy had been sucked out of the ACC and the Raptors were still not playing defense well at all. Andrea Bargnani got a block and Will Solomon would hit a 3 pointer. But Thaddeus Young was able to answer with a basket on the other end. It was 39-25. The Raptors offense was a little better but matching baskets was not going to get them anywhere. Raptor would get back to back turnovers and got nothing from the first and Jamario Moon was fouled off the second.
It seems there may be hope as number 8 was back on the bench and back in the game with Moon heading to the line. The word is that he was suffering from a cramp. But Thaddeus Young hit a 3-ball to extend the Sixer lead to 13 point . A.P would hook up Andrea Bargnani for another jam. Despite all that was going wrong Andrea Bargnani was doing really well. Raptors still had a long road back down 44-33. Chris Bosh was heading to the line looking to get it back to single digits. Which he would do going 2-2 from the line. Sam Dalembert would travel and turn the ball over for Philadelphia. Andrea Bargnani had the tip back for another 2 point for him and he had 9 points on the night so far. Elton Brand would get an offensive rebound and a throw down. But Andrea Bargnani had another 2 points to his total. He would add his second block on the defensive end and Andrea Bargnani was keeping the Raptors in this basketball game.
Bosh hit 2 free throws and Raps were on a 21-9 run and had climbed back in the game down 46-41. Bosh would hit a jumper and the Raptors had almost climbed all the way back. Moon drove to the net and he would not score but Bosh would on the follow tip. The Sixers would finally get a basket. Chris Bosh had come to life as he hustled to get a rebound off a missed 3-ball by Bargnani. He would get fouled and head to the line. But he missed both from the line. Mo Cheeks would call time to set up a final chance to score for the Sixers with 20 seconds left in the half. Willie Green would get 3-ball of a dump of from Iguodala. The lead at the half was 51-45 for the Sixers.
Chris Bosh rallied to have 14 points and Andrea had 11 no one else was doing much on the score sheet. But the fact Jose had come back gave the Raptors some hope to save a win. Not a great start as Sixers got it deep to Dalembert for the easy two. A.P had turned his shooting around a bit as he hit his first jumper of the second half. Andre Miller with a pretty pass to Iggy for the jam. Andre Miller was off to a strong start and the Sixers had extended the lead back to 10 at 57-47.
Bosh would split a pair from the line. Jose Calderon would score on the drive after a rare Raptor stop. Brand would answer that with a mid-range jumper. Calderon was not looking at 100% despite being back in the game. You had to hope whatever was wrong would not be getting worse by him returning. The Raptors would not see action till Sunday afternoon vs the Heat. Bosh was drawing fouls like a magnet as he was back to the line. Making both this time. Raptors were down 5 and got the ball back but Moon was blocked and Andre Iguodala went the other way for the jam. Jason Kapono checked in for Moon as Iguodala was at the line and split a pair. Jermaine O'Neal would hit a jumper. But the Sixers matched with a shot of their own and lead 64-56. Bosh was back at the line courtesy of Philly rookie Speights who had 4 now on the night.
Midway through the 3rd Raptors were down 64-58. J.O would drive to the basket and draw a foul and head to the line. J.O was a perfect 5-5 from the line and had 13 points on the night. Elton Brand it a short little jumper and Sixers had a six point lead. That would be extended to 8 points by Andre Miller who was having a nice night along with Brand. Miller had 12 and Brand 17 as the top scorers for the Sixers. J.O got a nice dunk but bad news for the Raps as Jose Calderon was once again back in the locker room replaced by Will Solomon. But Jaso Kapono hit a 3 pointer and the Raptors were down 5 points with I would guess, Jose Calderon gone for the rest of the night.
Could the Sixers take advantage of the loss of Calderon gone for the rest of the night. They badly needed to as I mentioned off the top how they have struggled. An Andre Miller basket extended the lead back to 10. Will Solomon would respond with a 3 pointer. Only to have brand respond on the other end. But Will Solomon scored again this time from 2 point range. Raptors would draw a 24 second violation on the Sixers but the Raptors could not cut into the now 7 point Sixer lead. Bargnani had another chance to cut the lead with a buzzer beater 3 point attempt but it would not fall. The Sixers would take a 78-71 lead into the fourth quarter. The Sixers would look to hang on for their first road win of the year.
Raptors would have a shaky first possession of the quarter. Their second would lead to a jump ball between guard that Will Solomon would win. Bosh would cash that in with a Bosh bucket and a foul on Reggie Evans. Bosh would make the extra free throw and The Raptors were down 78-74. Sixers would turn the ball over on a travelling call. But a Lou Williams steal on a Moon pass would get converted on the break by the Sixers. Lou Williams was getting hot and the Sixers were riding that to extend the lead to 9 points. Andrea Bargnani drove for a jam. Chris Bosh would hit a jumper and both plays were set up by Roko Ukic who had checked in for Solomon. The score was 85-80 and the Raptors were hanging around hoping to pull this game out of the fire.
A couple of missed trips for both teams and the Sixers would get bailed out by a foul late in the shot clock sending Will Green to the line and he extended the lead to 7. Roko Ukic missed on a drive and Andre Miller would score on the other end. A Raptor turnover and Sixers pushed the lead back to double digits on a Brand jumper from the foul line. Will Solomon returned for Ukic who struggled after a fast start. But it did not help as the Raptors turned it over again leading to an uncontested jam for the Sixers. Philly had 19 points off 10 Raptor turnovers. Yet another turnover and the Raptors looked out of sync and were running out of time with less than 6 minutes to play. The Raptors just seemed to have lost the belief that they could win and it was showing on the floor. Sam Mitchell called a couple time outs with little results from doing so.
Raps with another turnover out of the time out that they would get right back only to turn it over again. The score was 95-82 and Sam Mitchell had his desperation line up with all 3 bigs on and A.P playing at the point. Sam was willing to try anything at this point. But it seemed to little to late to me. Raptors were down 97-86 with 4:00 minutes to play after a couple J.O free throws. Jermaine would score again and it was down to a 9 point lead. Willie Green nailed a dagger 3-ball to make it 100-88. Sixers were up 10 with 2:20 to play and an offensive foul on Bosh just about ended any hope the Raptors had. Sixers were just running down the clock and looking to get out of Toronto with a win. Thoughts turn to how bad Jose Calderon was hurt. If he was out any length of time the Raptors had some serious tough times ahead. The Raptors will drop to 4-4 and .500 on the season. The Sixers with the win improve to 3-5 on the season. The final score for the record was 106-96. This was a bad loss and a bad night overall for the Raptors. Despite good efforts from Bosh, Bargnani and O'Neal. Turnovers and an injured Calderon would be the story of this game. To check the stats click on the boxscore below.
Raps vs Sixers Boxscore
Rap fans will hold their breath waiting to hear an injury report on Jose Calderon. This was a extreme low point that was even more painful than the blown lead against Boston. That is it for this edition of Raptors Rewind...Thanks For Reading and see you Tomorrow.