76ers-Raptors Preview

A slew of new faces will try to help the Toronto Raptors turn

around a sluggish stretch.

The Philadelphia 76ers would like to begin altering one of their

own, and solving their turnover issues could help.

The Raptors are expected to have four new additions available

Friday night when they attempt to win for the second time in eight

tries against the 76ers.

Toronto (7-13) may be one game back of Boston for the Atlantic

Division lead, but the team made a major move Monday with the

future in mind.

In a deal that provided some financial flexibility following

this season, the Raptors sent Rudy Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy

to Sacramento in exchange for guard Greivis Vasquez and forwards

Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes.

The Raptors finally have everyone available.

“We got a full house,” said coach Dwane Casey, who was limited

to 10 players in Tuesday’s 116-103 loss to San Antonio that put

Toronto on the cusp of its first five-game home losing streak since

Jan. 12-28, 2011.

Vasquez and Salmons may find themselves in much more prominent

roles after averaging 9.8 and 5.8 points with the Kings this

season.

Casey, though, thinks their contributions will go beyond

scoring.

“Where he helps, and also where John helps, is giving us another

ball handler,” he said. “It gives us another ball handler who can

run pick and rolls, that can handle the basketball. Our transition

offense should be a little bit better, as far as the ball getting

up the floor. Both John and he are good pick-and-roll defenders, so

it helps us a lot of ways.”

Vasquez certainly made a key impact in his last meeting with the

Sixers on Jan. 15, scoring 23 points while dishing out nine assists

in a 111-99 win with New Orleans.

Despite the acquisitions, guard DeMar DeRozan should continue to

be the driving force offensively. He leads the team with a

career-high 21.5 points per game and is scoring 24.4 over the past

seven at home. However, Toronto has won once in that stretch.

DeRozan had 33 points in a 108-98 victory in Philadelphia on

Nov. 20.

The Sixers (7-16) committed 20 turnovers in that meeting, and

their average of 18.0 is among the worst in the NBA. They totaled a

season high-tying 26 turnovers in Wednesday’s 106-99 loss at

Minnesota, leaving coach Brett Brown searching for answers.

“There’s a trend in what we do in pace, outlets or kick-aheads

or skip passes,” Brown said. “There was a trend in trying to get

the ball to the post and how we reacted to that. Then there was a

trend in playing to the crowd. We went through those areas with the

team to try to identify why and how those turnovers happened.”

Forward Evan Turner, who leads the Sixers with 20.3 points per

game, had a career-high nine turnovers while scoring 13. He is

averaging 15.0 points and shooting 39.1 percent during a four-game

losing streak for Philadelphia, which has dropped 16 of 20 since

opening 3-0.

Spencer Hawes, who scored 20 on Wednesday, had a season-best 28

points and 10 rebounds while shooting 10 of 13 last month against

Toronto.