PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers have gone south in Toronto.

Sixers coach Brett Brown wants the season series to come with an asterisk.

Sure, the Toronto Raptors won the season series 3-1, but the Sixers have evolved thanks to two splashy trades this season that could skew the perception that the Raptors have been the dominant team in the series. The Sixers head Saturday to Toronto for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal with their starting five intact for the first time all season: All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, midseason acquisitions Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, and JJ Redick failed to start a game together against the Raptors.

"We all understand what the math says with our success in Toronto, and it's not flattering," Brown said. "But it's also not directed to the team that we have. And so you can credit it or you can discredit it. I'm discrediting it. I think that we have a new group, we have a new opportunity."

The Sixers and Raptors both dropped their playoff opener before winning four in a row; the Raptors against the Orlando Magic and the 76ers eliminated the Brooklyn Nets. The two franchises have not met in the playoffs since Allen Iverson, now a postseason regular at his courtside seat, and the Sixers needed seven games to top Vince Carter and the Raptors in 2001.

The Raptors' homecourt edge as the No. 2 seed in the East looms large — the Sixers have lost 13 consecutive games at Scotiabank Arena since their last win there on Nov. 10, 2012.

The Raptors made their own big deal when they acquired Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline and will count on him to try to limit Embiid. Gasol didn't play in any of the four games in the season series. The Sixers know they'll have their own challenges in slowing down the skilled passer as well as Kawhi Leonard and former Villanova star Kyle Lowry.

The dog days of the Process well behind them, the Sixers were built to make a deep run this season. Brown has proclaimed the Sixers are good enough to play for a championship and General Manager Elton Brand made the bold deals for Butler and Harris to give the star power needed to get there. Team owner Josh Harris has offered only lukewarm support for Brown and made no guarantee the coach would return for a seventh season.

Beating the Raptors could cool that hot seat.

"We have a team that is slowly coming together," Brown said. "They don't have the luxury of lots of games and lots of context to share upon. And so you have Jo, you don't. You have Jimmy Butler, you don't. These guys have been great on trying to form a team."

Rockets hush Jazz

James Harden scored 26 points and had six assists to lead the host Rockets to a 100-93 win and a 4-1 series win over the Utah Jazz in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs Wednesday night.

Chris Capela added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets.