Sixers Win Fourth Straight Game
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Andre Iguodala had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday also scored 14 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their fourth straight win, 97-62 over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.
Lou Williams scored 13 points, and rookie Nikola Vucevic had nine points and 10 rebounds for the Sixers. A year after starting 3-13, the Sixers are 5-2 and the early leaders in the Atlantic Division.
The Sixers blew the game open in the third quarter, using a 30-8 run to build a 25-point lead.
Elton Brand heard whistles from the crowd after he was forced to change jerseys on the court because of a rip on the back of his 42. Toronto’s Amir Johnson yanked at the 4 and ripped the numeral right off.
Andre Bargnani had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Johnson had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Raptors.
The Sixers turned a methodical game into a rout after a sizzling third quarter that led to their second win in two nights. Iguodala nailed a 3-pointer during an 11-0 opening spurt that ignited the 30-8 run. Holiday added a 3 during the game-changing charge and the young, energetic Sixers were alley-ooping and fastbreaking their way to a win.
The Sixers went 15 for 40 from the floor in the first half. Led by Holiday and a flawless 4 of 4 from Thaddeus Young, the Sixers made 12 of 23 shots in the third (52 percent) and raced to a 25-point lead. Young scored 12 points.
One night after holding Detroit to 0 for 10 shooting from 3-point range, the Raptors were a measly 1 for 12.
Ed Stefanski, the former general manager who put this Sixers team together, watched this blowout as a member of Toronto’s organization. Stefanski was fired after four seasons and quickly landed with the Raptors as executive vice president of basketball operations.
Stefanski hired Doug Collins, who led the Sixers to the playoffs last season, but it was too late to save his job.
More wins like this might have helped him.
“You can’t use the word patience in the city of Philadelphia, which I never used,” Stefanski said before the game. “You can’t use the word rebuilding.”
While the Sixers could use that true superstar who can carry them to championship contention, the lean years appear over. The Sixers have a pool of seven players who can all score in double figures in every game. This one was no exception.
The lone cause of concern came in the second half when leading rebounder Spencer Hawes sat out all but 2 minutes. He was spotted on the bench with a wrap over his jersey around his midsection. The Sixers had no injury update.
The only hole in their game was in Brand’s jersey.
Johnson grabbed the stitched 4 and gave it a good yank with his right hand as he ran away from Brand. He ripped the top part of the 4 off the jersey, leaving the number flapping in the air.
Brand removed his jersey and was briefly shirtless as the crowd whistled and catcalled at their power forward.
He was all smiles — and so were the Sixers fans who bellowed “First place!” after the final horn.
Notes: Philly’s four-game winning streak matches its longest winning streak from last season. … The Sixers completed the first of 16 back-to-backs. … The Raptors had been the best defensive team, holding teams to .397 (219 of 552) shooting. The Sixers shot 43 percent.
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