While the Philadelphia 76ers have held their own thus far, steady production from Evan Turner could make them all the more formidable.
Turner and the 76ers try for their third straight win overall and sixth in seven games against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.
After opening this five-game homestand with back-to-back losses, Philadelphia (6-4) improved to 3-3 at the Wells Fargo Center with a pair of wins over the weekend. Turner had 11 points in a 99-93 victory over Utah on Friday before recording 19 points, a career-high nine assists and six rebounds in the 76ers' 86-79 win over Cleveland on Sunday.
Despite going 8 of 12 from the field Sunday, Turner is shooting a career-low 40.8 percent. More efficient efforts could go a long way for Philadelphia, which is 4-0 when Turner makes at least 45.0 percent from the floor.
"Evan shows flashes," coach Doug Collins said. "I told him: `Stop putting so much pressure on yourself.' Evan is a perfectionist. He works harder in the offseason than anybody else on the team. He puts a high ceiling on himself. I want him to enjoy playing."
While the 76ers rank near the bottom of the NBA with 88.9 points per contest, they're one of the top defensive teams in the league. Philadelphia's 90.1 points allowed ranks in the top five.
"The most important thing is we pull together through the grind," Turner said. "Camaraderie and chemistry is key."
The 76ers have been very stingy against Toronto (3-7) of late, surrendering an average of 84.3 points while going 5-1 in the last six matchups. Turner had eight points and 12 rebounds in a 93-83 road win Nov. 10, while helping to limit the Raptors to 38.0 percent shooting.
One night after falling 107-89 at Boston, Toronto bounced back Sunday with a 97-86 victory over Orlando. With starting point guard Kyle Lowry still sidelined, Jose Calderon had nine points and a season-best 18 assists for the Raptors, who scored 30 in the fourth quarter to match their season high.
"Jose is a leader," coach Dwane Casey said. "I cannot say enough about how much I respect his game, his leadership and his heart."
DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points while Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson added 17 and 15, respectively.
"It's important, we need to get those guys rolling and sometimes you have to give them easy shots at the beginning to get them comfortable and feeling confident," said Calderon, averaging 13.0 assists in his last five games.
The Raptors have struggled on the road this season, dropping four of five while averaging 91.0 points - 10.2 below their home mark.
Toronto avoided a third straight loss at Philadelphia with a 99-78 victory April 4. The Raptors have taken nine of the last 13 matchups there.
Bargnani, who scored 23 points against the 76ers earlier this month, has averaged 23.2 in six games against Philadelphia since the start of 2010-11 - his second-highest mark against any Eastern Conference foe in that span.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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