Lowry powers Raptors past Timberwolves 94-89
TORONTO — Kyle Lowry says he’s never played for a coach he admired as much as Rick Adelman.
He sure didn’t do his old friend any favors Friday night.
Lowry scored 24 points, Amir Johnson had 19 and the Toronto Raptors beat Minnesota 94-89 for their 10th straight home victory over the Timberwolves.
Lowry made a season-high six 3-pointers as the Raptors won for the ninth time in 11 games and posted their 18th victory in 19 meetings with Minnesota. Lowry, who played for Adelman in Houston from 2008 to 2011, credits the longtime coach for giving him a chance in the NBA.
"Nothing against (Toronto coach Dwane) Casey but Rick is my favorite coach because he gave me the opportunity to show my skills," Lowry said. "Honestly, he really is my favorite coach of all time."
Of course, Lowry’s affection for Adelman had no impact on his effort against the Wolves.
"He’s on the opposite side," Lowry said with a smile.
Adelman said he’s seen improvements in Lowry’s game since their time together with the Rockets.
"He’s always played at a high level but he’s shooting the ball really well, a lot better than any time from the 3-point line, from the floor and from the free-throw line," Adelman said. "That’s a big difference, but he’s always been a really solid player."
Lowry is 29 for 56 from 3-point range this month. He has led Toronto in scoring three times in the past five games.
"On any given night, especially at the point guard position, which is so tough in the NBA, he can get the best of anybody," Minnesota’s Kevin Love said of Lowry. "I think very highly of his game, I like how he plays, I like how he competes. It’s a cliche that hard work pays off, but that guy works really hard."
DeMar DeRozan shook off a poor shooting performance to score 15 points and Terrence Ross had 16 as the Raptors won their sixth straight home game. It’s their longest home streak since an eight-game run from Jan. 17 to Feb. 10, 2010.
The Raptors improved to 11-3 when they make at least 10 3-pointers. Toronto went 11 for 24 from beyond the arc, while Minnesota was 3 for 18.
Lowry said Toronto’s long-range success boils down to ball movement.
"Everyone is just trusting each other, everyone has confidence in each other," he said. "If you miss one, you know you’re going to get another one and nobody’s mad that you took that shot."
The Raptors also bounced back after losing 88-83 at Boston on Wednesday night, failing to beat a Celtics team that had lost its previous nine games.
"We wanted to redeem ourselves from that Boston game" Johnson said.
Love had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Kevin Martin added 18 points for the Timberwolves, who lost their third straight and dropped a season-worst three games below .500. J.J. Barea scored 14 and Nikola Pekovic had 13.
"We need to win, we need to string together a few in a row," Love said. "If we can do that, our confidence will be right back."
Toronto led 73-63 on a 3 by Greivis Vasquez with 8:44 left. But Minnesota answered with a 9-2 run, causing Casey to call timeout.
After hitting a pair of free throws, Martin drilled a 3 with 1:27 left, moving the Wolves within three at 85-82.
DeRozan hit a jump shot at the other end for his first basket of the second half. Barea missed a 3 and then, after a Wolves rebound, had his two-point shot blocked by Johnson. DeRozan grabbed the rebound and fed Lowry for a clinching 3 with less than 15 seconds to go.
DeRozan was 5 for 17 from the field, but had five rebounds and five assists.
DeRozan scored seven points in the first, two of them on an alley-oop pass from Lowry, as Toronto took a 22-15 lead after one. The Wolves missed eight of their first nine shots and went 6 for 23 in the opening quarter. They also were 5 for 8 at the line.
The 15 points allowed in the first were a season low for Toronto.
Lowry scored eight points in the second and Patrick Patterson had seven, but the Raptors lost ground. Pekovic scored seven points and the Wolves connected on 10 of 18 attempts, closing the half on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 44-40 at the intermission.
Lowry and Johnson each scored nine points in the third as the Raptors made four 3-pointers and pushed their lead back to 69-61 heading into the fourth.
NOTES: Minnesota’s last win in Toronto was a 108-97 victory on Jan. 21, 2004. … Raptors G John Salmons left in the second quarter with back spasms and did not return. … Toronto F Tyler Hansbrough (left ankle) missed his seventh straight game. … Love missed both meetings with Toronto last season due to injury, with the Wolves losing each game. … The Raptors wore camouflage jerseys to mark Canadian Armed Forces Night. More than 400 members of Canada’s military attended the game.