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DeRozan strong in return as Raptors down 76ers

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Updated 12 months ago on
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TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan returned on Wednesday after missing 21 games with a groin injury and picked up where he left off.

The Toronto Raptors shooting guard scored 20 points in nearly 29 minutes after being a game-time decision in a 100-84 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

“We wanted to make sure he was fresh and not overdo it,” said Raptors coach Dwane Casey, who will monitor DeRozan’s minutes on the court. “Even at the end, we didn’t want to go to him too much in order not to wear him down. But he came through with flying colors.”

“He didn’t look like he missed a beat,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “He’s a great player.”

“I feel great, actually,” DeRozan said. “I thought I was going to be a little more winded but I feel good, honestly. I’ll just build off it, get some rest tonight, practice tomorrow and get ready for Atlanta (Hawks on Friday).”

It was DeRozan’s first appearance since he was injured in the third quarter of the Nov. 28 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

“I just wanted to stay level-headed and treat it like a normal game,” DeRozan said. “I didn’t want to get too high. I just wanted to come out and not try to do too much. Just play within the rhythm of my game.”

Raptors reserve guard Lou Williams added 19 points as the Raptors (26-12) won for the second time in the past seven games while it was the second loss in a row for the 76ers (7-31).

Guard Kyle Lowry scored 18 points and added 12 assists for the Raptors while center Jonas Valanciunas contributed 12 points and forward Amir Johnson scored 10 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.

Philadelphia guard Michael Carter-Williams led all scorers with 29 points and added seven rebounds with center Nerlens Noel adding 12 points and eight rebounds. Center Henry Sims scored eight points and had seven rebounds and guard K.J. McDaniels had 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

“We fought and fought the whole game,” Carter-Williams said. “You know, they spread it out at the end and hit some shots but for the most part we were in the game and we kept playing. We’ve been in games, we’ve been down but no matter what we keep fighting. We just have to earn respect in this league.”

“There are times when you can actually get back in a game,” Brown said. “We had two spectacular missed dunks, where the ball goes up 30 feet. The problem we have at the moment is that we really struggle shooting. When you look at 3-for-19 from the 3-point line and 19-for-31 from the free-throw line there isn’t much margin for error.”

He said his team missed forward Robert Covington, possibly the team’s best shooter, who was a late scratch with a shoulder contusion.

DeRozan started as a game-time decision and coach Dwane Casey said his use will be closely monitored. He was injured in the third quarter of the Nov. 28 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Raptors opened the game with a 13-0 run and led 34-19 after the first quarter, topped off with a 3-pointer by Williams at the buzzer.

After falling behind by 16 points, the 76ers rallied in the second quarter to pull to within two points with 1:11 to play. The Raptors held on for a half-time lead of 50-46. Carter-Williams had 18 points at the half for the Sixers, who closed the half with a 21-9 surge.

The Raptors took a nine-point lead early in the third quarter with DeRozan scoring five points. They expanded their lead to 67-54 when Williams hit a 3-pointer with 2:53 to play in the quarter.

Guard/forward Hollis Thompson cut the lead to 10 points with a 3-point shot. The Raptors led 71-61 at the end of the third quarter.

Williams started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and he made the resulting free throw to put Toronto into a 14-point lead.

McDaniels converted a pair of free throws to cut the lead to six. Then DeRozan hit for two and forward Patrick Patterson knocked in a 3-pointer to make the lead 11. DeRozan followed with a 17-footer to make the score 86-73.

Lowry made a 3-pointer with 3:16 to play to give the Raptors a 15-point lead.

NOTES: G DeMar DeRozan (torn left adductor longus tendon) returned to the Toronto lineup on Wednesday night. The Raptors were 12-9 in his absence but lost five of their six previous games before facing the 76ers. … G Tony Wroten (right knee sprain) left during the fourth quarter of the 76ers’ loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday and did not travel to Toronto. He missed seven other games this season with the same injury. He was averaging 18.1 points and 4.3 assists in his past 10 games. … G Jason Richardson (right foot stress fracture) said he hopes to participate in scrimmages by the end of January. Richardson hasn’t played since January 2013 after left knee surgery and then the foot injury. … The 76ers are home to the New Orleans Penguins on Friday night. The Raptors play at home on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks.

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