(SportsNetwork.com) - Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan is nearing a return to the slumping Atlantic Division leaders, who will resume a six-game homestand Wednesday versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Raptors are 12-9 without DeRozan because of a sever groin injury and he could return Wednesday or maybe Friday versus the Atlanta Hawks. DeRozan averaged 19.4 points per game before the injury for Toronto, which is posting an average of 108.0 ppg over the past 21 contests.
"Anything he brings to the table will help us through this tough time," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "We are not playing good basketball right now on either side of the ball, offensively or defensively."
Toronto has lost five of its last six games and dropped to 1-2 on the homestand following Monday's 114-111 setback to the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons scored 66 points in the second half and 22 off 19 turnovers.
"When you commit that many turnovers against a good team like that, you shoot yourself in the foot and that's what we did tonight," Casey said.
Casey's club is averaging 16.8 turnovers in the past five games, but is giving up only 12.2 this season.
The Raptors made 54 percent of their shots and couldn't stop Pistons guard Brandon Jennings, who had 34 points on 11-of-22 shooting. Jonas Valanciunas led the Raptors with 31 points and 12 rebounds, while Greivis Vasquez and Lou Williams netted 16 and 15 points, respectively, off the bench.
Toronto is 15-5 at Air Canada Centre and will also host the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans on the stay.
Philadelphia had won two in a row and three of four games, and suffered a 105-87 loss to the sizzling Hawks Tuesday night. Michael Carter-Williams scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Sixers.
Atlanta had 34 assists to Philadelphia's 20 and posted a 47-35 advantage in rebounds. The Hawks made 12-of-23 3-pointers in their ninth straight win.
"They pass the ball, they play together," Sixers coach Brett Brown said of the Hawks.
K.J. McDaniels scored 14 points and Jerami Grant added 13 in the loss.
The 76ers are 5-14 on the road and will host the Pelicans Friday. Guard Tony Wroten left Tuesday's game with a knee injury and is questionable against the Raptors. Wroten leads the Sixers with 16.9 ppg.
Toronto defeated Philadelphia, 120-88, on Nov. 9 north of the border and was led by DeRozan's 24 points. The two Atlantic foes will meet again Jan. 23 and March 2. The Raptors have won five in a row against the Sixers and four straight as the host.
The Raptors have scored 100 or more points in six straight matchups with Philadelphia. DeRozan is scoring 27.0 ppg in the past five meetings, while Kyle Lowry is averaging 14.5 ppg in 15 career games against Philly.
Lowry is posting 21.8 points and 8.7 assists in DeRozan's absence.