Raptors survive Lowry injury to beat Nets in overtime

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 08: Kyle Lowry
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 08: Kyle Lowry /

DeMar DeRozan once again steps up for the Toronto Raptors, as they hold on for a tougher than expected win over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Toronto Raptors could be forgiven for thinking they were going to have a nice, leisurely stroll through the park, during their visit to Brooklyn to face the lowly Nets. Instead, they had to survive a mugging and coughing up a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter, before hobbling out of Barclays Center with a 114-113 overtime win.

In respect of Kyle Lowry, hobbling was literally the case, after he suffered an injury near the end of overtime. He landed awkwardly after battling for a rebound and eventually had to be helped off the court by teammates.

No doubt this was extremely frustrating for Lowry, who up to that point had enjoyed a fine performance, with 18 points and a game-high 11 assists. With the three-time All-Star off the court, it was up to his teammate and buddy DeMar DeRozan to step up and seal the game.

And that’s exactly what DeRozan did, just as he has done so many times this season. He nailed the go-ahead three-pointer with 26.1 seconds remaining in the overtime period, to all but clinch the harder than expected victory.

The three-time All-Star finished the night with a game-high 35 points (along with six assists and three rebounds). In the process, he equaled Vince Carter‘s franchise record for 30-point games (91), adding further ammunition to those who say DeRozan’s Raptors jersey should be retired before Carter’s.

Regardless of DeRozan’s heroics for the Toronto Raptors, he was understandably more concerned about Lowry. As reported by the Toronto Sun‘s Mike Ganter, he said:

"“I hate to see any type of injury. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious and that’s all we can hope for. I don’t want to think too much about it. He fell and he fell hard. As long as nothing is broke it should be fine.”"

According to the Raptors’ media relations department, Lowry sustained an acute back spasm. He will be re-evaluated, but the chances are he will sit out Tuesday night’s game against the Miami Heat.

With so much happening on Monday night, it would have been easy to overlook another excellent performance from Jonas Valanciunas. Despite the Raptors’ decision to go with a small-ball lineup in overtime, he still registered 21 points, 13 boards, one dime and one block.

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We’ve already talked about how Valanciunas has adjusted to fewer minutes this season, while maximising his production. This is highlighted by his player efficiency rating, which is second-best on the team.

Another example of the 25-year-old’s adaptation and production, is the recent increase in his double-doubles. After recording just one in November, he had five during December and already has two in January.

Overall, no matter how much the Toronto Raptors struggled, they overcame adversity and found a way to win. In the process, they improved to an impressive 28-10 and kept within touching distance of the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics.

Not that the players are particularly concerned about the regular season. As reported by the Toronto Star‘s Dave Feschuk, Lowry said:

"“The playoffs will tell everything. It’s all about playoffs for us. That’s all it’s about. This regular season means nothing to me.”"

Next: How a Lowry trade would have changed everything

What was your main takeaway from Monday night? Are you concerned about Lowry’s injury, of the fact the Toronto Raptors struggled against a lowly opponent? Or are you only looking at the positives from the overtime win? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.