Bargnani leads Raptors to season-opening win over SixersNov 1, 2007 - 3:15 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- The reigning Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors got off to a successful start in defending their crown on Wednesday.
Andrea Bargnani led five players in double figures with 20 points as the Raptors posted a 106-97 victory over the division rival Philadelphia 76ers in the season opener for both teams.
Chris Bosh had 16 points and T.J. Ford added 14 and 12 assists for the Raptors, who went 47-35 last season en route to the first division crown in franchise history.
"Down the stretch, we hit a wall and couldn't score, and they hit some tough shots," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "But our guys made plays when we needed to make plays."
The Sixers, who trailed by as many as 22 points in the third quarter, scored 15 straight in a 27-7 run to cut the Raptors' lead to 88-87 with 5:24 remaining.
Bargnani answered with a four-point play to push Toronto's advantage to five, and Philadelphia never had possession to tie or take the lead the rest of the way.
"It was a very important play based on how close the score was," Bargnani said. "I received a nice pass, I put it up and hoped that it went in. I was a little lucky."
Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala saw Bargnani's 3-pointer as the biggest play of the game.
"We had one really bad stretch," Iguodala said. "When Bargnani was hit on that four-point play things seemed to fall apart for us just as we were coming back. That was the turnaround point."
The Raptors, who were ranked 27th in the league last year in rebounding, did not fare much better in the opener as they were beaten on the glass, 47-35.
The Sixers also held the edge in fast-break points, outscoring the Raptors by a 17-2 margin.
Trailing late in the second quarter by three points, Toronto used a 17-4 run towards the end of that period to take a 10-point lead - its biggest of the first half.
After the Sixers scored the final basket in the second, the Raptors opened up the third quarter outscoring Philadelphia, 19-5, in the first six minutes to take a 77-55 lead.
"They (the Sixers) showed a lot of heart," Ford said. "I'm pretty sure nobody in the NBA is talking about them either. But the atmosphere was great, the energy in the building was great. Everybody stepped on the court and gave the fans their money's worth."
Iguodala had 23 points and Kyle Korver scored 20 - shooting 4-of-7 from the arc - to lead Philadelphia, which has lost five of its last six to Toronto.
"I'm pleased the way we came back but we put ourselves in such a hole, and we can't do that against a team like Toronto," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said.
TORONTO 106 FINAL
Oct 31 9:29 PM
TORONTO 81 END, 3RD QTR
Oct 31 8:51 PM
TORONTO 58 HALFTIME
Oct 31 8:07 PM
TORONTO 24 END, 1ST QTR
Oct 31 7:38 PM
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