Lowry scores 24 to lift Raptors over Sixers 122-95
TORONTO – One after another, the long bombs kept falling – a sublime six for Kyle Lowry and 13 in all for the Toronto Raptors.
Lowry became the first person in Raptors history to go a perfect 6-of-6 from three-point range, scoring 24 points to lead Toronto to a 122-95 shootout victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
“I’ve been working on it and just keep continuing to shoot the ball. . . myself, Terrence (Ross), Pat (Patterson). We continue to keep working on our game, and trying to get better, and the shots are falling now,” Lowry said.
“Catch ’em and shoot ’em. We have a team where no-one cares who’s the man. On any given night, you can go off for 30 and we’ll all be supportive and happy for you.”
Ross drained three threes to finish with a season-high 22 points for the Raptors (11-6), who roared to their 13th consecutive victory over the Sixers, a winning streak that stretches back to January of 2013.
The Sixers did a decent job of containing DeMar DeRozan, who’s third in the league in scoring with 30.2 points but managed just 14 against Philly.
“Teams are sending extra bodies to him,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey. “It’s almost a must that he pass the ball, and he’s doing a good job of finding the open man. And at the end of the day, we’re making shots.”
Jonas Valanciunas finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, Pascal Siakam chipped in with 11 points, and DeMarre Carrol had 10. Patterson had just eight points, but threw up a 57-foot buzzer-beater to end the first quarter that might have been the highlight of the night.
Robert Covington led the Sixers (4-14) with 20 points, while Nik Stauskas of Mississauga, Ont., had 11 points for a struggling Philadelphia team that is 0-6 on the road this season, and winless in their past 22 games on the road.
The Raptors were coming off a particularly gruelling stretch that included eight of 10 games on the road, including a five-game trip that saw them go 3-2. They looked happy to be home, pulling away from the Sixers in the second quarter in front of a capacity Air Canada Centre crowd that included Blue Jays centre-fielder Kevin Pillar.
“It felt good,” Ross said. “Always playing in front of a home crowd and all the fans is fun, especially being at home, there’s no other place to be. You feel more comfortable.”
The Raptors took a 91-71 advantage into the fourth quarter, and then stuck a proverbial foot to Philly’s throat, and by the time Lowry drilled a three-pointer midway through the frame, the Raptors were up by a whopping 28 points.
With three-and-a-half minutes left to play, Casey emptied his bench, subbing on rookie Fred VanVleet and popular Brazilian Bruno Caboclo, among others, to give the likes of Lowry and DeRozan some valuable rest.
The Raptors shot 55 per cent on the night, and went 68 per cent from three-point range. Toronto and the Sixers hit 27 threes between them.
Philly coach Brett Brown had kind words for the Raptors, the type of team he hopes his young squad can develop into.
“They’ve grown this thing in a way we respect, we want to try and learn as much as we can in how they’ve done it,” Brown said. “The pieces are solid. It’s way beyond just DeMar. You saw what Kyle did from the perimeter. This is a team that’s built for the playoffs, they’ve been battle-tested, they’ve played together. There hasn’t been erratic player movement, they’ve retained a core.”
The Raptors and Philadelphia virtually paced each other point for point through the first quarter until Patterson drilled a pair of three-pointers in the final 31 seconds. The second was his long bomb at the buzzer to send the Raptors into the second quarter with a 33-26 lead.
Lowry scored 16 first-half points, and his running pull-up three-pointer with 5:24 left in the first half put the Raptors up by 11 points. A layup late in the half by Cory Joseph would stretch their advantage to 12 points. Toronto went into the halftime break with a 60-49 lead.
DeRozan had 10 points in a solid third quarter, and his pair of free throws with five seconds to play stretched the Raptors’ lead to 22 points.
The Raptors host Vince Carter and the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Lakers are in Toronto on Friday, followed by Atlanta on Saturday. The Raptors wrap up their homestand with games against Cleveland and Minnesota.