Calderon injured in Raptors loss
Losing to Philadelphia could have been the least of the Toronto Raptors' concerns after the Raptors dropped a 106-96 decision to the visiting 76ers on Wednesday night.
The Raptors' hearts were in their mouths when starting point guard Jose Calderon left the game just before halftime with a hamstring injury. The Spaniard was back on the court at the start of the third quarter, but he was in noticeable pain and only lasted a few minutes before heading back to the locker-room for the remainder of the game.
Will Solomon did a decent job running the offence in Calderon's absence, finishing with nine points in 15 minutes.
Calderon will have diagnostic testing done Thursday.
"I was trying to get a layup, and I went up and at that moment I felt a cramp," Calderon said after the game. "I feel better now, I tried to get back but I wasn't feeling 100 per cent, it was feeling sore. It is not something that I want to get worse but with the ice I feel better now."
Toronto's next game isn't until Sunday at home against the Miami Heat, which means Calderon has a few days to recuperate.
"Jose will be fine, he's a warrior," teammate Chris Bosh said. "He loves to play. I don't want him to be worried, I'm not worried, so we just want to be positive, and I hope to see him in uniform Sunday."
"I am looking forward to that," said Calderon. "This is the first time that we have three or four days off. I want to be there on Sunday so let's see how I wake up [Thursday]."
Toronto (4-4) has now lost two in a row while Philadelphia (3-5) put the brakes on a three-game losing streak and earned its first road win of the season.
The Raptors and 76ers played their season openers against each other back on Oct. 28 in Philadelphia, where Toronto came away with a 95-85 win.
That touched off a miserable 2-5 start for the 76ers, who had high hopes for this season after adding free agent big man Brand to a lineup that made a surpraise playoff appearance last spring.
Brand came through for the 76ers on Wednesday, scoring a season-high 25 points and adding eight rebounds. Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller had 18 points apiece for the Sixers, and Willie Green added 17 points and Marreese Speights finished with 12.
Bosh led the way for Toronto with 30 points and 12 rebounds while Andrea Bargnani and Jermaine O'Neal chipped in with 15 and 19 points, respectively.
O'Neal said the loss can't be blamed on Calderon's absence.
"Obviously Jose is very vital but that's not really what was hurting us, we were getting beat before that," O'Neal said. "We have to really buckle down on (defence), you can win games in this league if you don't play D."
The 76ers came out flying from the opening tip-off, taking a commanding 26-13 lead after the opening quarter and led by 17 points with 8:05 remaining in the half.
But Toronto went on a 25-9 run in the second quarter, capped off by a Chris Bosh put-back on a Jamario Moon miss, to pull within three points with just over a minute to go in the half.
Down by six at the start of the second half, Toronto suffered a big setback when starting point guard Jose Calderon left the game with a hamstring injury early in the third quarter.
The 76ers took full advantage of the Spaniard's absence and went on a 12-4 run late in the quarter to take a 78-71 lead going into the fourth.
Toronto trimmed the lead down to four points with 10 minutes left in regulation but never really threatened Philadelphia down the stretch, as the 76ers comfortably held on for the win.
Toronto hosts the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon.
With files from Canadian Press