Monday, December 22, 2014

Raptors get back into win column

TORONTO—Landry Fields’ return to the starting lineup came with a double-double—and an apology.
Fields had 10 points and 11 rebounds in his first start since he was shelved Nov. 7 because of elbow surgery to help the Raptors to a 90-72 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers last night.

The 24-year-old went up for an alley-oop dunk from Jose Calderon for the last basket of the game—securing his double-double but leaving both teams’ coaches less than impressed.
“I actually want to apologize for that,” Fields said of the shot with 16 seconds to go.
“I’m sorry,” he remarked. “I saw we had to take a last shot anyway. It could have been done a lot better.
I kind of feel bad about that.
“As soon as my man turned his head, I just made eye contact with Jose,” Fields explained.
“But it could have been done a lot better, and it would have been a lot classier on my part.”
Amir Johnson had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Toronto (13-22), which won for the first time in three games.
DeMar DeRozan also had 19 points, with Ed Davis adding 17 and Calderon 14 to go with 11 assists.
Fields, who was cleared to play Dec. 18, grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds and added 10 points.
Neither team could muster much energy through a pedestrian and sloppy affair. The Sixers had an excuse—coming off a 109-89 loss to the Brooklyn Nets the previous night in Philly.
The Raptors hadn’t played since losing 104-92 to Oklahoma City at home on Sunday—with a day off and day of practice in between.
“It was a grinder,” said Raptors’ coach Dwane Casey. “It was an Eastern Conference grinder.
“[Philly] felt like just coming in and grinding it out, and our guys did a good job short-handed and grinding it out.”
Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday had 16 points each to top the Sixers (15-22).
Davis and Johnson teamed up to score what looked like they’d be the Raptors’ final five buckets of the game—until Fields’ emphatic dunk on Toronto’s final possession to earn the double-double.
Casey said he had instructed Calderon to hold the ball, but that the point guard must not have heard him.
“Things happen, we’re big boys. Believe me, we’ve had it happen to us 15, 20 times this year,” Casey reasoned.
“We’re losing, they’re trying to put their foot on our throat.
“But we never want to embarrass anybody,” he stressed.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Oklahoma City dumped Minnesota 106-84, Cleveland beat Atlanta 99-83, Utah downed Charlotte 112-102, Boston upended Phoenix 87-79, Milwaukee bounced Chicago 104-96, and New Orleans trimmed Houston 88-79.
San Antonio shaded the L.A. Lakers 108-105, Denver topped Orlando 108-105, Memphis beat Golden State 94-87, and the L.A. Clippers downed Dallas 99-93.

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