The Toronto Raptors have a chance to get their act together away from home when they open a five-game trip Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers
The Raptors (38-38) completed a 3-1 homestand with a 106-92 victory over the Miami Heat Tuesday to reach .500 for the first time since they were 13-13 on Dec. 9
They are 26-14 at home but just 12-24 on the road. They enter Thursday's action ninth in the Eastern Conference.
"Every game's important, we need every single one of these games to put ourselves in a better position," said Scottie Barnes, who had 22 points, a career-best 12 assists and three steals against Miami.
"So, just gotta keep going out and defending every single night, bring our own energy when we go to other places. That's going to be our carryover, being able to bring our energy, bring effort each and every single game and just try to get that win," Barnes added.
Toronto has one home game left, April 9 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Philadelphia leads the season series with Toronto 2-1.
The 76ers (50-26) defeated the visiting Dallas Mavericks 116-108 on Wednesday for their second win in six games. The 76ers, third in the Eastern Conference, had Joel Embiid and James Harden back in the lineup
The Mavericks led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter and took a 91-89 lead into the fourth quarter before the 76ers took over to end a three-game losing streak
"We hung in there," 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. "It felt like we couldn't get over the mountain for a while. ... It was just one of those mental-toughness games where you just win anyway. You figure it out, and you win anyway, and that's what we did (Wednesday). I thought the competitiveness of our guys trumped how tired we were.
The 76ers were coming off a 1-3 trip that ended Monday with a 116-111 loss at Denver
Embiid finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, and three assists, while Harden had 15 points, 12 assists and four rebounds. Tyrese Maxey added 22 points.
Embiid said his tight calf felt "good enough." He had missed the game in Denver.
Harden, who had missed the previous four games, said that his left Achilles tendon felt "OK" but "got a little sore" near the end of the game. He said that has been bothering him "for some months."
He said that he expects some discomfort for the remainder of the season.
"I just wanted to continue to play on it," Harden said. "There was one point to where, the last game I played (double-OT home loss to the Chicago Bulls on March 20), it was just really unbearable, so I couldn't even go out there."
Pascal Siakam had 26 points for Toronto against Miami and O.G. Anunoby added 22 points.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse was impressed by Barnes, who figures to be a key player down the stretch
"I thought he had a really good energetic game," Nurse said. "He just had his head up and was moving with the ball quickly. Obviously, the 12 assists were huge. He was finding a lot of people out of the next pass. Very good job of vision with him (Tuesday) on finding guys for easy buckets, setting guys up."
--Field Level Media