Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - DeMar DeRozan returned from a groin injury to score 20 points and the Toronto Raptors led wire-to-wire for a much-needed 100-84 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
DeRozan played 29 minutes after missing the previous 21 games with a muscle tear in his groin.
"It was better than what I thought it was," DeRozan said of his return. "I felt good. We just wanted to see how I felt, get that first one under my belt and go from there with it."
Lou Williams added 19 points and Kyle Lowry scored 18 with 12 assists for the Raptors, who led by as much as 20 but didn't take a double-digit lead for good until Patrick Patterson's 3-pointer with under seven minutes remaining.
The Atlantic Division leaders have been on a bit of a slide, losing five of their past six games entering Wednesday. They are 2-2 on a six-game homestand.
Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 12 points for Toronto and Amir Johnson scored 10 with 16 rebounds.
Michael Carter-Williams helped keep the Sixers in the game, especially early on, and finished with 29 points and seven rebounds. Nerlens Noel scored 12 with eight rebounds and K.J. McDaniels scored 10 points.
"At times a lot of us don't have confidence when shooting the ball," Carter- Williams said. "Everyone has freedom. No one is restricted. I don't know if it is confidence or we're just not making shots."
The Sixers, who started the season 0-17, had won three of their last five games coming in but were missing leading scorer Tony Wroten (knee).
They missed their first six field goal attempts of the game and two free throws before scoring their first points on Carter-Williams' dunk almost four minutes into the first quarter.
It stopped a 13-2 Toronto run, but the Raptors remained comfortably ahead and took a 34-19 lead into the second quarter.
Carter-Williams scored 11 points in the first quarter and later capped a 12-1 Philadelphia run in the second with a layup, cutting a 16-point deficit to five. Noel scored eight in the quarter and the Sixers pulled within 50-46 at halftime.
Toronto led by as many as 13 late in the third quarter and by 14 early in the fourth before the Sixers chipped away. But DeRozan and Patterson led a 7-0 flurry that increased the Raptors' lead to 13 with under six minutes to play and the Sixers were only as close as nine after that.
DeRozan, Toronto's second-leading scorer, hadn't played since Nov. 28 ... The Raptors beat the Sixers 120-88 on Nov. 9 in Toronto ... Toronto hosts Atlanta on Friday ... The Sixers host New Orleans on Friday.