Toronto Raptors beat Knicks 128-92, but lost Lowry to injury
The Raptors lost all-star Kyle Lowry to an ankle injury, again, in their 128-92 rout of the Knicks.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Lin scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. With the game well in hand. Meaning he lead eight Toronto players into double figures.
But Lowry’s injury was a cloud on the night.
Lowry had just returned after missing two games with a left ankle injury. But he re-injured his right ankle when New York’s Mitchell Robinson knocked him over from behind. With 5:15 to play in the third. Lowry slapped the floor in pain before being helped up. The guard glared at New York’s bench before being helped to the locker-room.
Mitchell fouled out a couple of minutes later, after playing just 14 minutes.
“It’s pretty sore. It’s tender right now,” Lowry said after the game. “I watched the clip. I think it was a little bit dirty.”
Pascal Siakam had 19 points. Lowry had 15 and eight assists. OG Anunoby had 14 points. While Fred Van Vleet chipped in with 12 and Marc Gasol had 12 points to go with 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, Norm Powell finished with 10 points for Toronto (50-21).
The Raptors were playing without star Kawhi Leonard. Who again sat out for load management as has become routine when the team plays on back-to-back nights.
Allonzo Trier had 22 points to top the Knicks (14-57).
Between injuries to key players, the arrival of Marc Gasol and Lin at the trade deadline, and Leonard’s load management, Nurse has used a revolving door of rosters. Monday night was his 20th different starting lineup of the season.
“It’s super frustrating for our team but we’ve done a great job of handling everything and playing through the injuries and rest games and trying to keep everyone together,” Lowry said. “Everything’s been kind of up and down. But we’re a good team, and all we need is a couple of games on the floor together and we’ll be all right.”
Despite yet another new group of starters, and against the worst team in the league, Toronto’s offence hummed like a well-oiled machine from the opening tipoff. The Raptors shot a sizzling 82.4 per cent in the first quarter, and their 73 points in the first half was a season high.
Toronto had compiled a 35-point lead in the third quarter and led 101-69 with one quarter to play.
The Raptors’ bench built their advantage to 38 points in the kind of fourth quarter that makes fans wish the playoffs would come already. And with a few minutes to play, the courtside seats at Scotiabank Arena were virtually empty. Barely half the capacity crowd of 19,800 was still on hand to cheer the Raptors off the court at the final buzzer.
VanVleet was playing just his second game back after a month off with a thumb injury. His return is fortuitous timing with Lowry’s next few games questionable.
The fact the Raptors are No. 2 in the Eastern Conference despite the ever-changing rotation, VanVleet said, shows the team’s depth.
“Yeah, it’s unfortunate,” he said. “But I think that is a testament to our team showing what we are capable of. We’ve had our best player (Leonard) out for almost half the year. Kyle has missed a month (earlier in the season with a back injury). I’ve missed a month, and it’s kind of all going at the same time.”
The Raptors were coming off a disappointing 110-107 loss in Detroit a day earlier — making it a 3-0 sweep by former coach Dwane Casey and his Pistons.
The Raptors held the Knicks to 29 per cent shooting in the second and stretched their lead to 20 points on a VanVleet three-pointer late in the second, and Anunoby’s three-pointer at the buzzer sent Toronto into the halftime break with a 73-54 advantage.
Raptors play in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.