The Toronto Raptors weren't just beaten Wednesday night — they were beaten up.
Thaddeus Young scored 17 points in a reserve role and the Philadelphia 76ers used suffocating second-half defence to bolster their playoff chances with a 93-75 win over the short-handed Raptors.
The 76ers (31-27) limited the Raptors to 36 points after the break — a fitting method of payback after Toronto (20-39) surrendered just seven fourth-quarter points in a win in Philadelphia seven days earlier.
The outcome was of secondary concern to Toronto, which lost point guard Jose Calderon (eye) and forward Linas Kleiza (knee) to second-half injuries. The Raptors were already without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani, who missed his second game with a left calf injury that has nagged him all season.
“We're running out of guys,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said after the game. “Jose goes down, (Kleiza) goes down, Amir (Johnson's) got a bad back ... but again, it's the NBA, and we have to go play with who we have out there.
“I thought our guys battled as long as they could until we were decimated.”
Calderon went down hard, then made a beeline for the dressing room after taking a headbutt from Philadelphia guard Jrue Holiday in his still-discoloured right eye during third-quarter action. Calderon was forced to miss Friday's game against Cleveland after absorbing an elbow from 76ers forward Elton Brand in that same eye exactly one week ago.
Calderon took three stitches and returned to the bench early in the fourth quarter, but Casey opted not to use him with the game already out of hand.
“He's going to look like Rocky whether he wants to or not,” Casey joked.
Kleiza sat out most of the second half with a sore right knee.
Despite being down three key players, Toronto still had a chance with the 76ers ahead by just six points through three quarters. But an Evan Turner jumper from the right corner put Philadelphia back ahead by 10, and Andre Iguodala effectively put the game away with a three-pointer — the 76ers' first of the night — with just over four minutes left.
Toronto had fits against the Philadelphia frontcourt, getting pounded 58-20 in the paint. For a Raptors team that has made post defence a priority, that result disappointed Casey the most.
“Tonight was one of the first few nights we just gave in in the paint,” he said. “We didn't have any resistance. You have to contain the ball, and I thought their guards did a good job of getting into our paint and causing problems.”
Ed Davis was the lone standout for the Raptors, scoring 13 points and adding 13 rebounds and five assists. He said Toronto let the game get away after managing to stay with the Sixers despite shooting under 40 per cent for nearly the entire night.
“I thought we were going to have this game,” Davis said. “We just had a lapse in the second half ... a lot of easy buckets for them. We couldn't get enough stops and we couldn't score.”
The win was a pivotal one for the Sixers, who began the night one game ahead of the New York Knicks for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
“If you look at the teams that are right there with us, the Bostons and the New Yorks, they've put their runs together and they've had great weeks,” said Philadelphia guard Louis Williams. “Now we feel like it's our opportunity to put some games together. I think this will be a big week.”
Notes: Attendance at the Air Canada Centre was 16,324. ... Davis hauled in nine of Toronto's 13 rebounds in the second quarter. ... Philadelphia F Thaddeus Young, who led all scorers with 17 points, went to the court holding his face after colliding with Davis while battling for a rebound early in the fourth quarter. ... The Sixers entered the game first in the NBA in scoring defence, allowing just 88.5 points per game. ... Toronto needs two wins in its final 10 games to equal its victory total from all of last season. ... Toronto Blue Jays pitchers Casey Janssen and Ricky Romero attended the game.
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