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Raptors dump struggling 76ers

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TORONTO (AP) - After finishing off a long stretch of games with another deflating defeat, the Philadelphia 76ers are finally getting a chance to rest.

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Jrue Holiday, for one, couldn't be more excited.

Amir Johnson had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Jose Calderon added 14 points and 11 assists, and the Toronto Raptors never trailed in a 90-72 victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday night, handing the slumping 76ers their fifth straight loss.

Holiday and Thaddeus Young each scored 16 points and Evan Turner had 10 as the Sixers set a season low in points and lost for the 13th time in 16 games. Philadelphia has played 12 of its past 16 on the road, winning just twice.

Before the game, 76ers coach Doug Collins described his team's recent schedule as ``absolutely brutal.''

The silver lining for the Sixers? After a short flight home, they've got two days off before their next game, Saturday night against Houston. That's the first of four straight home games for the 76ers, who play 12 of their next 13 at Wells Fargo Center.

``It's going to feel awesome,'' Holiday said of the chance for some down time. ``I can't wait. I mean, I'm 22 and I feel banged-up. I'm excited.''

Starting for the first time since Nov. 7, Toronto's Landry Fields set season highs with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

``He did exactly what we needed,'' Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ``He gave us energy and he was running the floor.''

Fields, in fact, kept running all the way until the final whistle, connecting with Calderon on an alley-oop in the final 15 seconds to complete his first double-double of the season.

Still, with the Raptors in command at that point, Fields acknowledged feeling a little guilty about the flashy play.

``I actually want to apologize for that,'' he said. ``I'm sorry. It could have been done a lot better.''

DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points and Ed Davis had 17 for the Raptors, who had lost six of their previous seven meetings with Philadelphia, including three straight.

``We had to grind it out,'' Casey said. ``Everybody stepped in and did a solid job.''

Philadelphia, which lost at home to Brooklyn on Tuesday, was playing for the sixth time in nine days. The Sixers cut it to 73-67 on a jumper by Young with 6:40 left, but couldn't get any closer.

``We just had nothing left,'' Collins said.

The way Holiday saw it, the tired Sixers didn't have much gas to begin with.

``I don't think we had it today,'' he said. ``We didn't have the energy from the start.''

Philadelphia made just five of 19 field goal attempts in the fourth quarter.

``With poor shooting, the air just seems to come out of you,'' Collins said.

Still, despite their rotten run, Holiday insisted the Sixers have not lost confidence in themselves, or each other.

``I think we're pretty strong as a team,'' he said. ``The chemistry off the court right now is awesome.''

DeRozan had struggled in his past two games, both Toronto losses, making just seven of 27 field goal attempts. But he was on target in this one, connecting on eight of 13 shots and making all three of his free throws.

The Raptors led 24-14 with 1:17 left in the first but the Sixers closed the quarter with a 7-0 run, including a buzzer-beating jumper by Turner, to make it 24-21 after one.

A jump hook by Fields gave Toronto a 38-30 lead at 4:48 of the second but Philadelphia closed the gap again, cutting it to 42-40 at halftime.

Calderon scored 10 points in the third, hitting on five of six field goal attempts, as the Raptors overcame eight points from Holiday to take a 71-61 lead into the fourth.

NOTES: Philadelphia's Jason Richardson did not play because of a sore wrist. Collins said he gave Richardson, who has missed time with back and ankle injuries this season, ``a San Antonio Spur day.'' ... Toronto C Aaron Gray, who missed Sunday's loss to Oklahoma City because of flulike symptoms, was active again but did not start, with Johnson taking his spot. ... Raptors G Terrence Ross, who left Sunday's game with a sore left ankle, did not dress. ... Fields, who started in place of Mickael Pietrus, had seven rebounds in the first quarter, as many as the entire 76ers lineup. ... Toronto won for the 11th time in franchise history when making one or fewer 3-pointers. The Raptors finished 1 for 11 from 3-point range.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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