Kyle Lowry returns to lead Toronto Raptors to 121-105 victory over Pacers

TORONTO — In the span 60 seconds, Kyle Lowry drilled a three-pointer. He took a charge from six-foot-eight bulldozer Thaddeus Young. And he drew a foul on a basket for a three-point play.

And the game wasn’t yet three minutes old.

Playing for the first time since missing 10 of the previous 11 games, Lowry made his presence felt early in the Toronto Raptors’ 121-105 victory over Indiana on Sunday, before finishing with 12 points and eight assists.

“Good to be out there with my guys, felt good to be able to help them get a win,” said Lowry, who’d been out first with a thigh contusion, then lower back pain.

Eight Raptors scored in double figures. Norm Powell had a season-high 23 points, Serge Ibaka finished with 18, Danny Green had 15, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet had 12 each, Greg Monroe chipped in with 11 and Delon Wright had 10.

Bojan Bogdanovic had 21 to top the Pacers (26-13), who saw their six-game win streak snapped.

Lowry’s return came in a game Kawhi Leonard sat out for body maintenance. Coach Nick Nurse was happy to have his four-time all-star back.

“Very good leadership,” Nurse said on Lowry’s presence. ”You can just sense an organized attack at both ends. He goes 4-for-10, 12 points, eight assists, but there’s about 32 other things out there that you’re not seeing that he’s doing that don’t get recorded on the stat sheet.”

The Raptors were coming off a big 123-116 victory the previous night in Milwaukee, and a night after cruising past the No. 1 team in the East, the second-place Raptors (30-12) pulled away from No. 3 Indiana in the second half. They got off to a strong start, took a double-digit lead in the second quarter, and had stretched it to 96-84 to start the fourth.

“Last night was unbelievable in Milwaukee. Those guys played their asses off,” Lowry said.

The Pacers pulled to within eight with a 4-0 run to start the fourth. But that surge was short-lived, thanks largely to Powell, who had nine points in five minutes. His basket with 6:13 to play put the Raptors up by 17 points.

“They were the aggressors all night long,” said Pacers coach Nate McMillan. ”I thought they had the energy out there. They established their pace. We didn’t really establish that we could stop that team all night long.

“We never really established that we could stop them.”

Cory Joseph drilled a three to pull the Pacers to within 13 with 1:34 to play, but fellow Canadian Chris Boucher answered with a three 10 seconds later.

The Raptors shot 51.8 per cent on the night, and 51.5 per cent from behind the arc. And a night after the bench was embarassed by the Bucks, the second unit outscored Indiana’s 52-27.

“It’s a team game, and our bench didn’t have a great night, but tonight they stepped up,” Lowry said. ”Like I always say, it’s not an individual sport. It’s a team game, and tonight was a great effort from everybody. Eight players in double figure scoring. That’s pretty good.”

Nurse had mentioned potentially easing Lowry back into action. The guard is still not 100 per cent — he laid on his back rather than sit on the bench when he wasn’t on the floor.

“I had a couple things that made it a little sore,” Lowry said. “But it’s not gonna be something that just goes completely away. But (need) to maintain it and stay on it and make sure that it stays as minimum as possible.”

Leonard has yet to play in back-to-back games this season. The team remains cautious with the star’s health after he missed all but nine games last season with San Antonio.

“Just resting him after a heavy week. Think it’s just the best thing to do,” Nurse said.

The Raptors had the hot hand from the opening whistle, shooting 65 per cent in the first quarter and taking a six-point lead on a three by VanVleet with 2:10 left in the frame. They took a 37-35 lead into the second.

A Green three-pointer stretched Toronto’s lead to 11 points four minutes before halftime, and the Raptors took a 70-63 lead into the break.

The Raptors host Vince Carter and the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, then wrap up their homestand against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Alberta government to partially backstop new $2 billion dollar bitumen upgrader

CALGARY — The Alberta government is providing a $440 million loan guarantee… Continue reading

Local artists are in the running for Alberta Country Music Awards, held Sunday in Red Deer

Tickets are available to the ceremony at the Sheraton hotel

RCMP seeking suspect in school bus collision and car jacking

Two children suffered minor injuries in collision on Tuesday near Springbrook around 8 a.m.

Smaller, more affordable, lots wanted in Red Deer’s Evergreen neighbourhood

Council approves first reading of requested lot-size changes

Political shifts, sales slump cast shadow over gun industry

When gunmakers and dealers gather this week in Las Vegas for the… Continue reading

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

B.C. animators land Oscar nominations

‘Animal Behaviour’ by Vancouver’s David Fine and Alison Snowden among several Canadians on the short list

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps may need to stock up on maple… Continue reading

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

Rugby Canada Hall of Fame a family affair for hard-nosed forward Hans de Goede

Hans de Goede, a hard-nosed lock forward who captained Canada at the… Continue reading

5 burning questions ahead of the Oscar nominations

NEW YORK — The Oscars still don’t have a host, but on… Continue reading

‘Bao,’ ‘Animal Behaviour,’ ‘Weekends’ among Canadian Oscar nominees

LOS ANGELES — Several Canadians have landed Oscar nominations. The category for… Continue reading

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

Opinion: Faith in immigration must be preserved

Canada has a deserved reputation for extending its arms to newcomers, but… Continue reading

Most Read