Raptors proving they don't need home-court edge
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Toronto Raptors don't need home-court advantage.
After beating the Philadelphia 76ers in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinals series, the Raptors now have won three of four road playoff games.
They're going for another in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series Wednesday night at the First Union Center.
"Being on the road kind of pulls us together a little bit more," forward Antonio Davis said."I don't know if you just relax while you're at home when everybody just expects certain things from you. When you are on the road, you know everything is going against you, so you rely on your teammates for comfort, to pick you up when you're down, and a lot of times that's what you need on the road."
Philadelphia lost Game 1 at home in both playoff rounds. The Sixers can't afford to go down two games to the Raptors, who have won four of five meetings between the teams this season.
"We've got to learn from our mistakes," Allen Iverson said. "We've been good after losses all year long. Myself and the other guys have to look in the mirror and realize the things we did wrong as individuals, and then put that all together in the team aspect and we won't have any problems."
The Sixers believe the secret to beating Toronto isn't trying to stop Vince Carter. It's shutting down the rest of his teammates.
Philadelphia lost the opener because the Raptors had too many options other than Carter.
"We know Vince is going to make his shots, but we've got to keep other guys from making their shots," forward Tyrone Hill said.
Carter scored 35 points, including a crucial basket and two free throws in the final minute of Toronto's 96-93 victory Sunday. But the Raptors were able to steal home-court advantage away from Philadelphia because reserve Dell Curry scored 20 points, Alvin Williams had 15 and Charles Oakley 13.
"It's a lot easier when your teammates are making shots," Hill said. "When the other guys are making shots, it takes the pressure off your superstar."
The Sixers struggled because Iverson's teammates weren't making shots. Iverson, single-covered much of the game, scored 36 points, but shot 11-of-34.
"If my teammates don't know how to get themselves involved at this point, then there's something wrong," Iverson said. "We played 82 games, and I struggled in a lot of those games and we did all right."
Toronto plans to use the same defensive strategy against Iverson in Game 2.
"We have a responsibility as a team," Davis said. "I think Alvin Williams and Chris Childs did a great job of defending him, but it's tough to guard him one-on-one, so we have to focus on him and make him shoot tough shots.
Mutombo felt the Sixers didn't take advantage of their inside players in Game 1. Hill and Mutombo combined for 22 points on just 13 shots. George Lynch had six points on four shots.
"I think we can attack them inside, get their big men in foul trouble," Mutombo said.
Sixers coach Larry Brown will be happy if his team just sticks to its game plan.
"Our concern is our team," Brown said. "We didn't play the way we need to play to win. I don't think our losing Game 1 was so much what they did as it was what we didn't do."