DeMar DeRozan returns with 20 points in Raptors' win over 76ers
DeMar DeRozan didn't show any rust after the longest layoff of his career.
DeRozan returned from a groin injury to score eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, Kyle Lowry had 18 points and 12 assists and the Toronto Raptors never trailed in a 100-84 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
"I thought I was going to be out there huffing and puffing but I felt good," said DeRozan, who missed the previous 21 games.
DeRozan received a brief standing ovation was he was introduced. An All-Star for the first time last season, he hadn't played since tearing a tendon in his left groin in the third quarter of a Nov. 28 home loss to Dallas when he slipped and fell on a drive to the basket.
"It's always good when you can get your All-Star back," Lowry said.
Toronto went 12-9 without DeRozan, who missed only 11 games combined in his first five NBA seasons.
"It's been tough sitting out this many games, just watching," DeRozan said. "It felt good to get back out there."
DeRozan was 9 of 14 from the field and had four rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes.
"He came through with flying colors," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Amir Johnson had 10 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, Lou Williams added 19 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 12 to help Toronto win its sixth straight over Philadelphia and improve to 7-0 against Atlantic Division opponents.
Michael Carter-Williams scored a season-high 29 points and Nerlens Noel had 12 for Philadelphia. The 76ers lost their second straight and fell to 2-7 on the second night of back-to-backs. Philadelphia, which lost at home to Atlanta on Tuesday night, has failed to reach the 100-point mark in 15 consecutive games.
Guard Tony Wroten, Philadelphia's leading scorer, did not make the trip to Toronto after spraining his right knee Tuesday.
Toronto led by 10 to begin the fourth and widened its lead on a four-point play by Williams.
K.J. McDaniels hit a jump shot and made a pair of free throws to cut it to 79-73 at 7:42, but DeRozan scored baskets on either side of a 3 by Patrick Patterson as the Raptors pulled away with a 7-0 spurt and weren't threatened again.
"We fought and fought the whole game," Carter-Williams said. "They spread it out at the end and hit some shots."
Toronto led 13-0 before Philadelphia's first basket, a dunk by Carter-Williams at 8:04 of the first. Williams had 11 points in the opening quarter, but Williams made a 3 at the buzzer as the Raptors led 34-19 after one.
Noel scored eight points in the second and Carter-Williams had seven as the Sixers used a 12-1 run and connected on 11 of 22 field goal attempts to cut Toronto's lead to 50-46 at halftime.
Williams scored seven points in the third and Philadelphia went scoreless for 4:26 seconds as Toronto regained its foible-digit advantage, taking a 71-61 lead into the fourth.
Lowry has posted seven or more assists in six straight games. His season high is 14, set Dec. 9 at Cleveland. Lowry's double-double was his second straight and his 11th of the season.
Before the game, 76ers coach Brett Brown praised Toronto as a team that has built a winner the right way. "I respect the path they've taken," Brown said. "You look at this group and they've grown together, they're getting better for it."
76ers: Robert Covington (right shoulder) was scratched after suffering an injuring during warmups. Henry Sims started in his place. ... Jerami Grant was called for a flagrant foul for elbowing Tyler Hansbrough in the head while defending a shot in the first quarter. Grant missed a fast-break dunk in the fourth. ... The 76ers missed eight of their first 10 field goal attempts.
Raptors: Terrence Ross failed to make at least one 3-pointer for the first time in 15 games, ending a career-best streak. ... The Raptors are 16-5 at home. ... Toronto is 15-0 when holding opponents below 100 points.