76ers survive late rally to beat Raptors

January 19, 2008 8:14:05 PM PST
Willie Green had one of those stretches that shooters dream about. "The basket seemed like it was getting bigger and bigger," Green said after tying a season high with 23 points as the Philadelphia 76ers survived a late rally for a 99-95 victory Saturday night over the Toronto Raptors. "The guys were able to get me the ball and I was able to make some shots."

Green scored 10 points in the third quarter, including a pair of long 3-pointers, when the 76ers seemed to take control of the game.

"Willie played a nice game," said 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks, whose team won for just the second time in their last 10 games. "He showed his ability to get inside the defense with some curls and some mid-range shots, and that really opened up his 3-point game."

Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala each added 20 for the 76ers (16-25), who had a 24-5 run that started late in the second quarter and continued until midway through the third.

Samuel Dalembert equaled Green with 10 points in the third quarter. He posted his fourth double-double in the last five games, finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Dalembert is averaging 11.7 points and 10.1 rebounds as the season hit the halfway mark for both teams.

"Sam has been a factor for us," Cheeks said. "When we keep him in the game and he stays out of foul trouble, he clogs the middle, rebounds the ball, and gives us a shot at winning some games."

Dalembert also did a fantastic job of defending Raptors star Chris Bosh - for three quarters. The 76ers led 86-66 with 8:11 left before Bosh got untracked and Toronto used a 22-6 run to pull to 92-88 with 1:06 left. But Anthony Parker missed an open 3-pointer that could have brought the Raptors within a point before the 76ers iced the game from the foul line.

Bosh had 25 points, 14 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Raptors (22-19), who lost for just the second time in seven games. Juan Dixon added 18 points and Jamario Moon scored a career-high 17 for Toronto.

"It was just way too big of a deficit," Bosh said. "Being the team we are, we're going to try to force the issue and come back until the end, but you can't dig a hole that big and expect to climb out."

With both teams playing their second game in as many nights, the 76ers (6-for-17) and the Raptors (7-for-20) struggled from the outset, though Toronto led 18-15 after one period behind seven points by Moon. The 76ers remained cold for most of the second quarter, missing nine straight shots and going 7:47 without a field goal during one stretch of the first half, but found their stride right before intermission.

Philadelphia finished the second quarter on a 9-0 run and took a 42-40 lead into the break when Iguodala flipped in an off-balance shot in the lane and converted a three-point play with 1.5 seconds left.

That momentum continued as the 76ers followed with their best third quarter of the season, outscoring the Raptors 34-16. They built their first double-digit lead, 57-45, on Green's 3-pointer from the corner and took a 76-56 lead into the final period when Iguodala beat the buzzer again, this time on a long jumper with his foot on the 3-point line.

"I think our turnovers got them on a roll," Bosh said. "They scored a couple of fast-break points, got a couple of putbacks, and before you know it, they're making 15-foot jumpers and 3-pointers and playing with a lot of confidence."

Bosh's dunk with 2:55 left capped a 16-4 Toronto run and pulled the Raptors to within 90-82, but Miller answered with a jumper and the 76ers had just enough down the stretch.

"You have to play perfect basketball to come all the way back," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "We made a game of it, but we didn't play well enough for enough minutes to win the game."

Notes:: Dalembert has scored in double figures five consecutive games, a season high ... Bosh is averaging 31.2 points in his last six games ... Toronto was bidding for its first season sweep of Philadelphia. The Raptors have finished 3-1 against the 76ers five straight seasons.