National Basketball Association
76ers-Raptors Preview
National Basketball Association

76ers-Raptors Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 8:36 p.m. ET

DeMar DeRozan knows what importance home-court advantage carries throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

But with it officially out of reach, DeRozan and the Raptors can at least find solace in their impressive road mark as they seek a 12th straight win over the visiting Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.

Cleveland's Monday win over Atlanta guaranteed it the East's top spot over Toronto (54-26), which closes the season Wednesday night at Brooklyn.

Toronto has the franchise's best-ever road record to fall back on. The Raptors moved to 23-17 away from home with Sunday's 93-89 victory over New York, their second straight win and fifth in the last seven games.


''In this league, you've got to be able to win at home and win on the road,'' DeRozan said after scoring 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting. ''Sometimes the road is bigger and I think we just like that pressure of having our backs against the wall and I think that's why we play so well on the road.''

It doesn't matter where Toronto has played league-worst Philadelphia (10-70). The Raptors won this season's first three matchups for 11 straight since the start of 2013-14, and they have beaten the 76ers six straight times at home.

DeRozan has averaged 23.3 points during Toronto's win streak in this series while Kyle Lowry has posted 18.3 and 7.8 assists per contest.

The Raptors rested both stars in Friday's 111-98 win over Indiana while DeMarre Carroll sat after returning from a 41-game absence a day earlier. Carroll, who averaged 11.7 points and 4.8 rebounds while playing 23 games before his surgery, returned against his former team in Thursday's 95-87 loss at Atlanta and hopes his minutes restriction will be lifted in the postseason.

The Raptors have a chance to make Philadelphia the fourth team in NBA history with 71 losses. While Toronto can close its home schedule with a 32-9 record, the 76ers can fall to 3-37 on the road with Wednesday's contest at Chicago remaining.

Philadelphia has lost 14 straight away from home.

The 76ers avoided matching their 1972-73 team for the league's worst 82-game mark with last Tuesday's 107-93 win over New Orleans, but they have followed with consecutive tight losses.

Ish Smith had 22 points and Nerlens Noel added 18 and 13 rebounds on his 22nd birthday as Philadelphia lost 109-108 in overtime to Milwaukee on Sunday to finish 7-34 at home.

Still 16,267 fans attended the game and were enthusiastic down the stretch.

''We can't thank them enough for accepting the route that we have been on the past three years,'' coach Brett Brown said. ''I'm just blown away at the city at how good, and in some ways, forgiving, they have been to support us the way that they do. That does not go unnoticed.''


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