Lowry scores 29, Raptors overcome turnovers in win over Grizzlies
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TORONTO — Raptors coach Dwane Casey didn't like what he saw in the first three quarters of Wednesday's game. But his team came through for him in the final 12 minutes.
Kyle Lowry poured in 29 points and Toronto overcame 20 turnovers for a 120-105 win over the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
"I'm not making excuses for our guys but (that's) a tough game to play," Casey said. "No matter how you feel. You feel bad, jet lag, travel, whatever it is, you have to put a professional approach out there and I thought we did in the last quarter.
"The first three quarters, you can throw them out and do whatever you want with them. I thought we got our focus back towards the end."
DeMar DeRozan added 24 points and Patrick Patterson had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors (12-6), who rode a season-best 16 three-pointers en route to their fourth straight win.
Memphis (11-8) has lost two straight. Andrew Harrison led the Grizzlies with 21 points and Marc Gasol added 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Grizzlies played their first game without star point guard Mike Conley, who suffered a back injury against the Charlotte Hornets and will miss 6-to-8 weeks. They were also without Chandler Parsons, Brandan Wright, Zach Randolph, James Ennis III and former Raptors great, Vince Carter, who has a hip injury.
Toronto came out with a flat and sloppy in the first half and let the Grizzlies control the game. DeRozan led the underwhelming charge, scoring just three points while turning the ball over five times, playing the entire first quarter.
His teammates followed suit, combining to cough up the ball 10 times in the half. Lowry kept a relatively clean sheet, offering just one of those turnovers and scoring 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field.
Gasol put his undermanned team on his back, scoring 14 in the half. His newfound three-point touch — he's shooting 41 per cent on the season — was on full display, as he made 2-of-3 from deep in the first half, including one that came on a very friendly roll from the Air Canada Centre rim.
Despite the rash of turnovers, the Raptors only trailed by two at the half, 57-55.
Turnovers burned both teams in the third quarter (the Raptors had 16 going into the fourth, to Memphis' 13) but the Raptors cleaned their game up in the fourth, only losing the ball twice.
A one-point game with nine minutes to go was broken open thanks to five fourth-quarter three-pointers. DeMarre Carroll's corner three with 4:07 left made it a 12-point game and the Raptors didn't look back.
"A lot of it was on us," DeRozan said of the turnovers, which were uncharacteristic of a team that averages 11.3 per game, the second-best number in the league.
"(We were) rushing, just trying to make a more difficult pass than the easy pass. Just that alone could have cut the turnovers in half."
The Raptors' turnovers were mitigated by their hot three-point shooting. Seven players connected from deep in the win, with Patterson and Lowry each hitting four. It's a dramatic improvement from the sluggish shooting they were hampered by early in the season.
"DeMar was playing out of his mind (to start the year)," Lowry said. "We were really feeding off of him. Guys couldn't get in a rhythm, and we didn't need to, because we had a guy who was averaging 35 points per game.
"Now defences are collapsing on him and he's making great passes and we're getting wide open looks."
DeRozan has had 10 consecutive games with at least four assists, which is a career-best.
"That's pretty good for him," said Lowry, who always enjoys ribbing his teammate.
The Raptors host the L.A. Lakers on Friday.