With leading scorer DeMar DeRozan slowed by flu-like symptoms, Kyle Lowry delivered the best game of his career for the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
With his fellow All-Star still on the mend, Lowry may need a similar performance two days later.
Lowry will try to help the ailing Raptors win their fifth straight when they visit the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
Toronto (39-18) needed every one of Lowry's 15 field goals in 20 attempts in Friday's 99-97 win over Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland. DeRozan made just 1 of 11 shots for six points, even retreating to the locker room at one point, but Lowry came through with a career-high 43.
The 10th-year point guard added nine assists, five rebounds and four steals while turning the ball over just twice. He capped the performance with his first NBA game-winning shot, a 23-foot pull-up jumper with four seconds left before LeBron James' 3-pointer at the buzzer missed everything.
“It's one of the top performances I've been around, especially with the circumstances,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Him taking the team that's at the top of the conference like that, and I think the best player in the league, and putting us on his back and carrying us home.”
But while his Raptors pulled within two games of the Cavaliers and claimed an all-important tiebreaker by winning the season series, Casey still downplayed it.
''Again, it is just one game,'' he said. ''If we come back and stub our toe on Sunday, what does it mean? Nothing, zero, it is one of 82.''
Game No. 58 might come without DeRozan, who averages a team-high 23.2 points ahead of Lowry's 21.4. DeRozan missed Saturday's practice, and Casey said he was better but not quite 100 percent.
Lowry, who has averaged 26.2 points and 8.2 assists while shooting 55.1 percent over the last five games, had opposite performances in the Raptors' two wins this season over Detroit (30-29). After making only 4 of 15 shots for 18 points and no assists in a 111-107 victory in Toronto on Jan. 30, he made 9 of 14 to finish with 25 points and seven assists in a 103-89 victory on Feb. 8 in Detroit.
Toronto has won nine of 12 against the Pistons, including four of five at The Palace.
Andre Drummond was held to more subdued numbers than he's used to against the Raptors, averaging 11.5 points and 12.5 rebounds, and although he scored only 15 points on Saturday, he played a key role inside in Detroit's 102-91 win at Milwaukee.
Drummond grabbed 17 boards, including seven on the offensive glass, for his league-leading 50th double-double while opening up the 3-point line for the Detroit shooters. Marcus Morris made 3 of 6 shots from deep for 20 points – his most in 15 games – and Reggie Jackson finished with 22 points and eight assists.
The Pistons have responded from a season-high five-game skid with their first three-game winning streak since Jan. 4-9.
''Guys are getting more comfortable with their roles,” Jackson said. “We've been trying to attack downhill and just take what the defense gives us.”