for this game

Raptors bounce back, cruise past 76ers

Jan 16, 2007 - 12:21 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- A sign of a good team is bouncing back from a tough loss, which is exactly what the Toronto Raptors did.

Chris Bosh scored 27 points in three quarters and the hot-shooting Raptors used a big third quarter to cruise to a 104-86 victory over the woeful Philadelphia 76ers.

Joey Graham scored 18 points off the bench for improving Toronto (18-21), which maintained at least a share of the top spot in the weak Atlantic Division. The Raptors are a solid 16-13 since a 2-8 start.

"We've got young guys but we talk to them about staying focused, preparing yourselves, and make the sacrifices," said Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, whose job was in jeopardy during the slow start. "We've got a great group of guys that work hard. We just want to keep it going and it starts with defense and rebounding."

On Sunday, the Raptors nearly toppled the league-leading Dallas Mavericks before losing at home on a last-second shot by Josh Howard. Just over 24 hours and a plane trip later, they took out their frustration on the 76ers (10-28), the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

"It was big for us," Bosh said. "The easy thing to do was to think about (the loss) all day today and not try to redeem ourselves. Sometimes, when you have a loss like that, it could put you on a slump. We bounced back pretty good and now we can go to our homestand with our heads up."

"We knew that this game was crucial for us in terms of the Atlantic and Eastern Conference standings," Graham said. "With the things that we're trying to do, It was an important win for us." Bosh scored 19 points in the first half, helping Toronto to a 50-44 lead. He added eight more in the third quarter, when the Raptors broke open the game.

"In order to be a good team, you have to pick up your defense at times," Bosh said. "Our defense was really lacking at the end of the first half. We really didn't like where we stood. We had to get some stops and create a run for us."

Toronto shot 67 percent (12-of-18) from the field in the period, scoring 32 points while holding the Sixers to 14. Philadelphia shot just 6-of-19 and committed eight turnovers.

"We came out focused," Graham said. "The beginning of the second half, we knew that we were up and had the advantage so we wanted to put them to the ground."

"They just killed us in the third quarter," Sixers center Samuel Dalembert said.

Bosh, who made 11-of-14 shots overall, had a pair of buckets in a 14-0 spurt that gave Toronto a 75-53 lead. Philadelphia did not score for nearly five minutes.

"It started with our defense," Mitchell said. "We didn't give up anything easy. We took away layups and we took away the paint and we made them take tough shots. We moved the ball, got some really good looks and the guys knocked them down."

Former Sixer Anthony Parker scored 17 points and T.J. Ford added 13 and 10 assists for the Raptors, who shot 54 percent (39-of-72) and improved to 2-0 vs. the Sixers this season.

Andre Iguodala scored 15 points and Dalembert and Willie Green added 13 each for the Sixers, who shot 47 percent (35-of-74) and lost for the sixth time in seven games.

"I never thought that the season would be going the way that is going," Green said. "I'm just trying to learn from it."

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