76ers-Raptors Preview

The Toronto Raptors know they can win without star Chris Bosh.

How much longer they’ll need to keep doing so remains to be


After snapping a four-game losing streak, the host Raptors could

be without Bosh for an eighth straight contest as they try for a

fourth consecutive victory over the struggling Philadelphia 76ers

on Sunday.

Set to return Friday after missing six games with a sprained

ankle, Bosh was instead sent to the hospital for tests because of

severe stomach pains hours before Toronto (32-28) ended its skid

with a 102-96 win over New York.

“We don’t anticipate it’s anything serious,” coach Jay Triano

told the Raptors’ official Web site.

While that’s comforting to the Raptors, it’s uncertain if Bosh

(24.5 points, 11.4 rebounds per game) will return to help Toronto

try to hand Philadelphia (22-39) a sixth straight loss.

Toronto is 3-4 during their All-Star’s latest absence. Enjoying

a career year and facing the possibility of becoming a free agent

after this season, Bosh is averaging 24.0 points in his last four

home games against the 76ers.

The Raptors also could be without starting swingman Hedo

Turkoglu, who was knocked out of Monday’s loss at Houston with a

sore ankle and sat out the fourth quarter Friday after recording 12

points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes.

“You could see he was laboring,” Triano said. “We tried to go

as many minutes as we could with him.”

Even if Bosh and Turkoglu are sidelined, the Raptors could be in

good shape if they continue to get help from some unlikely


Sonny Weems scored a career-high 20 points off the bench, Jose

Calderon had 16 and Amir Johnson added 14 with eight rebounds in

his first start in place of Bosh on Friday. The Raptors improved to

19-0 when holding opponents to fewer than 100 points while topping

that mark for the second time in five contests.

In his second NBA season, Weems is averaging 6.1 points in his

first with the Raptors, but 13.3 in his last four contests.

“I’m just glad I’m getting this opportunity,” said Weems, who

had 14 points as a starter in a 104-93 home win over Philadelphia

on Feb. 10.

Weems could be in for another big effort against the 76ers, who

are mired in their longest winless stretch since losing 12 in a row

Nov. 20-Dec. 11.

Lou Williams had 22 points and Elton Brand added 17 in the

76ers’ 96-86 home loss to Boston on Friday. Though Philadelphia

shot 48.1 percent and allowed its fewest points in its last seven

games, it lost for the eighth time in 10 contests since winning a

season-high five in a row.

“Last few games, for 2 1/2, three quarters it was a pretty solid

performance but we really need to get the Ws,” said Brand, who

played 32 minutes after missing the previous two games with

Achilles’ tendinitis.

Earning that elusive victory could be difficult against the

Raptors. The 76ers, averaging 93.8 points in their last five games,

have given up 107.7 points during a three-game skid to Toronto.

Williams, however, is averaging 24.0 points on 59.0 percent

shooting his last three games versus the Raptors. The veteran guard

had 26 at Toronto last month.