Brand, Sixers end losing streak, beat slumping Raptors

TORONTO -- Relaxed and reinvigorated by a pregame talk, the Philadelphia 76ers put together their best performance of the season.

Elton Brand scored a season-high 25 points, Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala each had 18 and the 76ers snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Toronto Raptors 106-96 on Wednesday night.

"Just for team morale and team psyche, it's a big win for us, and on the road," Brand said.

Willie Green scored 17 points and Marreese Speights had 12 for the 76ers, who won for the first time in four tries away from home.

Iguodala, who also had 10 assists and nine rebounds, said the 76ers put aside the issues that had been clouding their minds through the first seven games of the season.

"We haven't really been having fun," Iguodala said. "We've just been thinking, 'How can we play with each other, how can we win? How can we not make mistakes?' That's when you make mistakes, when you start thinking a little bit too much. Tonight we were a little bit more free, we were shooting the ball with more confidence."

The 76ers, who had been held below 90 points in each of their past three games, passed that barrier on a jumper by Brand with 7:27 left in the fourth, putting them up 91-80.

Rather than worrying about the recent lack of scoring, 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks used the locker room discussion to urge his players to relax and concentrate their energy on defense.

"When you do that, you're not putting that much pressure on the offense," Cheeks said. "That's what's happened the last few games. We've put so much pressure on our offense and not enough pressure on our defense.

"I really believe the way we played at the defensive end of the floor was the difference in the game," he said.

Brand, who had scored just 31 total points in Philadelphia's past three games, eclipsed his previous high of 24, set in an Oct. 31 victory over New York.

"I got in a rhythm, got my shots," Brand said. "The coaching staff has been working tirelessly to make sure that I'm integrated into the team and into the game. They told me, 'Don't try to fit in, just go out there and play.' That's what happened tonight."

Iguodala said the addition of Brand gives the 76ers hope that no losing streak will ever last too long.

"Last year we'd go through streaks where we would lose eight or nine in a row and kind of didn't know how to get out of it," Iguodala said. "We would look at the schedule and say, 'All right, what's the next game we can win?' We've got good veteran guys now and it's like the next game, we can win, no matter what."

Chris Bosh had 30 points and 12 rebounds, but Toronto still lost for the fourth time in five games after starting the season 3-0. Jermaine O'Neal added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and reserve Andrea Bargnani scored 15 for the Raptors.

"We're disappointed, we had a lot of breakdowns," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "We got shots and didn't make them. Our defense wasn't good. Offensively we weren't very good."

Philadelphia led 26-13 after one quarter before 11 points from Bargnani and six consecutive points by Bosh helped Toronto close the gap to 46-45 with 1:20 left in the second. But a tip-in by Speights and a 3-pointer from Green gave the 76ers a 51-45 edge at the half.

"We cut the lead, we just didn't come up with the big stops," O'Neal said.

Toronto guard Jose Calderon went to the locker room for treatment on a tight right hamstring after clutching at his leg at the end of the first. Calderon played 13 more minutes in the second and third quarters before leaving the game for good with 4:42 remaining in the third.

Mitchell wasn't sure whether Calderon would be healthy in time for Toronto's next game, Sunday at home to Miami.

"I haven't had a chance to talk to the trainer," Mitchell said. "He tweaked his hamstring and tried to play in the second half."

Game notes
Philadelphia had averaged more than 18 turnovers in its past three games, but cut that to 13 on Wednesday. ... The Raptors had won eight of their previous 10 games against the 76ers.