Raptors point guard Lowry sets franchise assist record in 130-114 win over Hawks
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives to the net against Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (00) during the first half of NBA basketball action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
TORONTO -- Pascal Siakam had 24 points and nine rebounds, while Kyle Lowry became Toronto's all-time leader in assists as the Raptors stretched their win streak to eight games with a 130-114 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.
Serge Ibaka had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors (33-14), who had six players score in double figures. Fred VanVleet finished with 19 points, while Lowry had 12 to go with the 11 assists that pushed him past Jose Calderon as the Raptors' assist leader. Terence Davis finished with 15.
John Collins had 28 points to top the Hawks (12-36).
Marc Gasol had 10 points before leaving the game in the third quarter with tightness in his left hamstring. The Spanish big man missed 12 games with an injury to the same hamstring earlier this season.
The Raptors, who began the night tied with Miami for second in the Eastern Conference, never trailed against a struggling Hawks team that's foundering down in last in the East and had won just once in their previous 10 games. The Raptors parlayed their early double-digit into 18 points by midway through the third quarter, and led 97-83 to start the fourth.
The Raptors stretched their lead to 28 in the final frame, while holding the Hawks scoreless until Kevin Huerter connected on a three-pointer 3:59 into the quarter.
Lowry's dish to Davis on the Raptors' next possession gave him the franchise assist record, and prompted a bench celebration that included a wildly-dancing Siakam. Lowry received a rousing cheer when his accomplishment was announced during a timeout, and former Raptor Vince Carter met the point guard at halfcourt, wrapping him in a huge hug.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse emptied his bench for the final few minutes against a beleaguered Hawks team.
The Raptors were playing their first home game since Sunday's shocking death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash.
The night began with a touching tribute video to Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, followed by 24 seconds of silence, and chants of “Ko-be! Ko-be!” from a Scotiabank Arena crowd dotted with purple and gold Bryant jerseys. When the Hawks reached 81 points, their score on the jumbotron was displayed in purple, a reference to Bryant's 81-point explosion against Toronto in 2006, the second most points by a player in NBA history.
The Raptors learned of Bryant's death about an hour before taking the floor in San Antonio on Sunday. Visibly gutted, the Raptors opened the game by taking a 24-shot clock violation, a nod to Bryant's No. 24. The Spurs did the same.
Two days later, Nurse said the feelings were still raw.
“You remember to be grateful for what we do have,” Nurse said. “You remember to be loving, especially to the people that are close to you, and appreciate what you have there as well. And do the best you can to focus on your job.
“We've got to kind of move on, and we'll pay our respects, which is what we should do. We send up our prayers, we keep our thoughts and our hearts open, and our minds open, and then we've got to go play the best we can. And that's all I guess we can do.”
The night marked the penultimate game in Toronto by Carter, who had 10 points on the night.
The 43-year-old former longtime Raptor, who recently became the first NBAer to play in games spanning four decades, received a standing ovation during a video tribute to end the fourth quarter. On the Hawks' first possession to start the second, he hit a moon shot over OG Anunoby, and then grinned like a child when the ball dropped through the hoop.
The Raptors wore their purple-striped throwback jerseys, which Carter once wore when it was simply their jersey. He'll play his final game in Toronto when the Hawks are in town on April 10.
The Raptors took a double-digit lead in the first quarter on a three-pointer by Siakam, and went into the second ahead 33-23.
Davis's running three capped a 10-0 run that stretched the Raptors' lead to 17. De'Andre Hunter drilled a three with Lowry in his face as the buzzer sounded to end the first half, slicing Toronto's lead to 68-56 at the break.
The Raptors are in Cleveland on Thursday and Detroit on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2020.