Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sixers fall to Raptors in opener

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Andrea Bargnani scored 20 points, including a big four-point play late in the fourth quarter, to lift Toronto over Philadelphia, 106-97, in the opener for both clubs at Air Canada Centre.

Down by 21 points, the Sixers bridged the third and fourth quarters with a 15-0 run to draw within six, 81-75, with just over 10 minutes left in the game. Philadelphia sharp-shooter Kyle Korver fueled the run with a pair of three-pointers.

Anthony Parker finally stopped the bleeding for Toronto with a three of his own with 9:59 left in the contest.

Philadelphia kept chipping away, however. Andre Iguodala's three from the left wing made it 88-87 with 5:25 on the clock.

But that was as close as the Sixers would get. Bargnani's four-point play, just over a minute later, snuffed the Sixers' momentum and made it 94-89 with 4:19 remaining.

Philadelphia could never get the big stop the rest of the way as the Raptors hung on for the win.

Chris Bosh added 16 points for the Raptors, who are the defending Atlantic Division champs and have won six of their past seven home openers. T.J. Ford chipped in with 14 points and 12 assists while Parker and Jose Calderon each had 13 points.

Iguodala finished with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds for the Sixers, who finished last season with just 35 wins. Korver was 4-for-7 from three-point range and netted 20 points off the bench while Andre Miller had 15 points and six assists.

Reggie Evans, making his Sixers debut after being acquired in a trade with Denver, finished with a game-high 15 rebounds.

The Raptors held just a two-point edge after the opening 12 minutes.

But they closed the opening half on a 17-6 run to take control of the contest. Bosh was especially effective taking Samuel Dalembert on the blocks and then floating outside and sticking the jumper. The Toronto All-Star scored seven points in the run to help the Raptors take a 58-50 lead into the locker room.

Toronto then quickly opened things up in the third quarter with a 19-5 burst. Bargnani capped the spurt with an offensive rebound and lay-in to give the Raptors a more-than-comfortable 77-55 lead.


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