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Brand breaks out and 76ers snap losing skid

Nov 13, 2008 - 5:56 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Elton Brand scored 25 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 106-96 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala each added 18 points for Philadelphia, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

Brand added eight rebounds and three blocks as the 76ers avenged a season-opening home loss to the Raptors.

"I really believe that the way we played the game on the defensive end of the floor was the difference in the game," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "I told them to relax out there, just let your energy be on the defensive end of the court."

Chris Bosh scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Toronto, which was without point guard Jose Calderon in the fourth quarter due to a left hamstring injury.

"We just didn't get it done tonight, especially on the defensive end," Bosh said. "We didn't shoot the ball well in the first quarter but you can't hang your head. We were able to get back into the game but we just couldn't get defensive stops in the fourth quarter when we needed them. We were missing shots early but you can't let it worry you or you start making mistakes all over the place."

Philadelphia had lost its first three road games of the season and was coming off a 93-80 home loss to Utah on Tuesday. Brand scored just 13 points against the Jazz and totaled just 31 during the 76ers' recent losing streak.

Brand responded Tuesday with his best effort with the 76ers, shooting 12-of-21 from the field.

"It's a great relief. Toronto's a pretty good team who beat us in our home opener and we beat them pretty handily on the road," Brand said. "We know we can play. I was able to get in a rhythm and I got my shots but it was defense first that got us the win tonight. When you get your stops and you are hitting your shots that is the team we expected to be."

Willie Green and rookie Marreese Speights offered help off the bench with 17 and 12 points, respectively. Green also added nine assists and Speights had seven rebounds.

Jermaine O'Neal had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Andrea Bargnani scored 15 points for the Raptors, who committed nine of their 14 turnovers in the fourth quarter and could not get over the hump after pulling within 85-80 on Bargnani's dunk and Bosh's jumper early in the fourth.

"We had a lot of breakdowns," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "You have to give Philadelphia some credit, they shot the ball well."

Toronto, which has lost four of five games, fell behind early and was forced to play catch-up the rest of the night.

"We have to do a better job of playing defense and take it more personal," O'Neal said. "We can't afford to trade baskets with a team like Philly who were making their shots and then they get out on transition and they are very athletic, especially on the wing. We got the shots we wanted we just didn't make them. We were able to get the lead down to five a few times in the fourth but just couldn't get the stops to help us get over the hump."

The Sixers led 20-11 in the first and was up, 30-13, in the second. Toronto was within 51-45 at the half but was unable to overtake Philadelphia over the final two quarters.

"It's just good to get a win coming off a back-to-back," Iguodala said. "Coming down the stretch they made a run at us but we were able to hold our lead and were able to get a win. It was really good to get past that losing streak that we had.

"The veterans who were brought in were able to help us by talking to us about not hanging our heads after some tough losses. Last year we would get on 8 or 9 game losing streaks and we didn't know how to get out of it. Now the veteran guys say it's the next game that we are going to win."

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