Lowry gets triple-double, Raptors rout Nets
TORONTO — The way Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey put it, he gave his point guard Kyle Lowry two minutes to complete his triple-double in the 120-87 rout of the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.
Lowry needed one rebound to complete the 11th triple-double of his career — and nine with the Raptors — and got it early in the fourth quarter before being removed from the game.
He finished with 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds while DeMar DeRozan led the scoring with 31 points.
“I told him in the timeout, he had two minutes,” Casey said. “I don’t believe in messing with the game, but I owe it to my veterans if they have something like that to get it done. ... if he hadn’t gotten it in two minutes, he wasn’t going to do it.”
“Coach wanted me to get that triple-double, so he left me in a little longer,” Lowry said. “My teammates did good job tonight. We passed the ball well and DeMar had a great game.”
The Raptors (19-8) won their second game in a row and the eighth in their past nine while the Nets (11-17) lost their second in a row.
“We were really improving up until the last two games,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “It’s about consistency and how we can we do it six games or seven games in a row. We’ll have two or three or four games in a row where we play well defensively and then we’ll tail off a little bit.”
The Raptors have defeated the Nets in the past nine meetings between the teams. The last time the Nets beat the Raptors was April 3, 2015.
The Raptors took a 27-point lead after the third quarter and had the lead up to 29 when Norman Powell made a pullup jumper to open the fourth.
Serge Ibaka added 18 points and eight rebounds for Toronto, Jonas Valanciunas contributed 14 points and Jakob Poeltl and Powell scored 11 each.
Nik Stauskas scored 22 points and had seven rebounds off the bench for Brooklyn. Isaiah Whitehead added 13 points and Jahlil Okafor had 10 for the Nets.
Stauskas, who is from the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ont., and Okafor were playing their first games for the Nets since being acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in a trade on Dec. 7.
“They’re going to help us,” Atkinson said. “It’s just going to take time. It’s a process. They’re going to have to integrate into the group and we’re going to have to help them to integrate.”
“For me it was just more exciting to be back out there,” Stauskas said. “I don’t think I’ve played more than seven or eight minutes in a game this year in Philly, so just to play meaningful minutes in a game and being back home was just really exciting for me. Once I saw the first one go down that’s when my confidence started growing and just let them fly from there.”
“Just to be out there and run up and down and play basketball was great,” said Okafor, who was little used in Philadelphia. “Obviously, it was tough overall tonight, but for me personally to be out on the court after not playing for so long was good.”
Toronto led 30-20 after the first quarter, but Stauskas opened the second quarter with three straight 3-pointers to cut the lead to one.
The Nets took a four-point lead om a dunk by Quincy Acy and a driving layup and a free throw by Stauskas.
The Raptors rallied and led by 10-point after Lowry’s 3-pointer with two minutes left in the first half.
The Raptors led 58-44 at the intermission, keyed by 20 points from DeRozan.
Toronto upped its lead to 20 points with 6:53 to play in the third quarter when Valanciunas made a turnaround jumper.
A 3-pointer by Ibaka had the lead at 26 with 3:56 remaining in the third.
The Raptors led 91-64 after the third quarter.
“I think it’s a combination of things,” DeRozan said of the Raptors improved play over the past nine games, particularly by the starters. “Understanding out mistakes, understanding what got us down and what put us in a position that we had to fight out of.”
NOTES: Nets G/F Allen Crabbe (sore left knee), F DeMarre Carroll (rest) and G D’Angelo Russell (left knee surgery) did not play Friday. Carroll played the previous two seasons with Toronto. ... Nets G Isaiah Whitehead was recalled from Long Island of the G League Friday. ... Raptors G Delon Wright (dislocated right shoulder) was activated Friday after missing 12 games and scored seven points. ... Toronto G/F C.J. Miles (sore left shoulder) did not play. ... The Raptors are home to the Sacramento Kings Sunday afternoon. ... The Nets play the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center Sunday night.