Lowry's triple-double leads Raptors past Pacers, 117-98
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Kyle Lowry pulled out his headband just for fun Monday night.
His fashion statement changed Toronto's perspective - and its fortunes.
The All-Star had 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals in his second triple-double of the season, leading the Raptors to a 117-98 blowout at Indiana.
''When things are not going so fun, you have got to find some things to make it fun again,'' DeMar DeRozan said. ''We can't be too uptight or too down. We still have to have fun with it and I think Lou (Williams) and Kyle showed that tonight. Just something small like that carries over into the game.''
Both Williams and Lowry wore their cotton crowns, and DeRozan considered donning one, too, on what turned out to be a special night for the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors (40-27).
Toronto won for only the third time in 13 games, but finally earned its 40th in fewer than 70 games for the first time in franchise history. It also pulled off a season sweep of the Pacers, something last done in 2000-01.
And not surprisingly, Lowry and his new digs were right in the middle of it.
He went 7 of 13 from the field, matched his season high in rebounds and became the first Toronto player since Alvin Williams to post consecutive 100-steal seasons. Williams did it three times from 2000-03.
''The headband is done, don't worry about it again,'' Lowry said, drawing laughter.
Toronto's supporting cast wasn't bad, either. Four other players wound up in double figures.
Williams had 24 and DeRozan finished with 22. Jonas Valanciunas wound up with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Amir Johnson added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Toronto shot 47.6 percent from the field, made 12 of 23 3-pointers and finished with the highest point total all season on Indiana's home floor - despite playing the second game of a back-to-back.
''This team is a great 3-point shooting team and they're great at drawing fouls, great at initiating contact and if you don't take their airspace enough, they drill you from the perimeter,'' coach Frank Vogel said. ''That's what makes them very difficult to guard and it was just too much for us.''
Indiana (30-36) lost its second straight despite getting 23 points from George Hill and 20 from Rodney Stuckey. The loss dropped the Pacers into a four-way for the final two playoff spots in the East with one team, Charlotte, playing later at Utah.
But after the Raptors built a 37-24 lead midway through the second quarter, Indiana spent the rest night futilely chasing.
The Pacers got within four at halftime and made it a 58-56 game when C.J. Miles opened the second half by making two free throws.
Toronto's Terrence Ross answered with two straight 3s to ignite a 16-5 run that made it 74-61 with 5:50 left in the third, and Indiana never got closer than seven again.
''That is the way we have to play,'' coach Dwane Casey said. ''That is something we have been imploring and we got it together. That was one of the best, close to, 48 minutes in a while. We've got to continue to do that and keep that focus.''
Raptors: The Raptors' recent struggles were largely the result of poor defense, but they were solid Monday. Toronto limited Indiana to 43.2 percent shooting and they outrebounded Indiana 51-36.
Pacers: Hill scored 17 in the first half with a dribbling display that would have made the Globetrotters proud. But in the in the second half, he was just 1 of 4 from the field. Indiana finished 2 of 19 on 3s.
SILVER STAR: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took questions before the game and acknowledged that the NBA would like the All-Star Game to return to Indianapolis at some point in the future. ''You guys host some of the biggest events -- the Final Four, the Super Bowl - and we'd love to come back here for an All-Star Game.'' Indy last hosted the game since 1985. Silver also reiterated his desire to limit the NBA draft to players age 20 and older, that he'd like to see a 30-team D-League and said he was impressed with how the Pacers have rallied without Paul George.
Raptors: Host Minnesota on Wednesday.
Pacers: Visit Chicago on Wednesday.