NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 18th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (14-25) at Philadelphia 76ers (16-23), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors will conclude their season series on Friday night when the Atlantic Division rivals meet at the Wells Fargo Center.
Both teams are struggling badly lately.
The Sixers are 6-17 since Dec. 1, have lost six of their last seven and fell at home to the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday, 111-99.
Jrue Holiday led the way with 29 points and 11 assists as he tries to make his first All-Star team. He had little support as three other Sixers reached double figures.
The Sixers may get more than just a little support for Holiday shortly.
Andrew Bynum, the prize center the Sixers landed in an offseason trade, intensified his practice regimen this week and hopes to be back after the All- Star break.
"It's a huge lift," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "Andrew's a very hard worker. He knew nothing about our organization. We wanted to make him a focal point of our organization. You think he's not sitting there and thinking if he'd been playing we might have seven or eight more wins?"
The Raptors head south to Philadelphia losers of three straight. They fell at home on Wednesday night to the Chicago Bulls, 107-105, in overtime in a game with some question marks on the officiating side.
Amir Johnson got the ball down two and appeared to clearly get fouled by the Bulls' Joakim Noah. The Raptors didn't get the whistle, then inbounded with a second to go and Jose Calderon missed a 3-pointer to give the Bulls the win.
"I hope the league looks at that last play of the game when Amir Johnson gathers the shot going up," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "I don't know who he's passing to, but I just hope they watch it. I hope they watch it.
"That's all I'm going to say about it, because it's a very questionable, marginal call at the end of the game."
Casey received a technical foul with 1:20 left in the third quarter and the Air Canada Centre faithful started an unpleasant chant about the officials in the fourth quarter.
The Raptors haven't won on the road in 2013, but they've only played once outside Toronto in the two-plus weeks since the calendar turned. They don't travel past the Eastern Time zone until March.
The Sixers won the first two meetings this season with Toronto, one in Philadelphia and one in Toronto. The Raptors blew the Sixers out on Jan. 9 in Toronto, 90-72.
01/18 10:28:20 ET