DeRozan leads Raptors past Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points, Greivis Vasquez victimized his former team with six points in the last two minutes, and the Toronto Raptors defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 107-100 Wednesday night.
Kyle Lowry scored 23, Amir Johnson added 17 and Vasquez finished with 14 to help Toronto overcome a 14-point first-half deficit and snap a two-game skid. Tyler Hansbrough, playing additional minutes with starting center Jonas Valanciunas sidelined by a sore back, grabbed 13 rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
The game was tied at 94 when Vasquez scored five straight points in a 36-second span on a running floater and a driving layup as he was fouled — the latter coming after Vasquez rebounded his missed jumper for one of Toronto’s 22 offensive rebounds.
Al-Farouq Aminu had 19 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which was without All-Star Anthony Davis because of an illness.
Tyreke Evans had 18 points for the Pelicans. Eric Gordon added 15, but was shut out in the second half, when his playing time was limited by foul trouble.
Brian Roberts scored 11 points, while Alexis Ajinca and Austin Rivers each had 10 to help New Orleans lead for most of the game.
New Orleans led 94-90 on Jeff Withey’s free throw with 4:26 left. But during the next 50 seconds, Johnson slammed home a putback dunk and followed that with a driving layup as the shot clock expired to tie it at 94. Next came Vasquez’s five straight points, followed by Lowry’s free throw and Johnson’s tip shot to cap a 12-1 run from which New Orleans could not recover.
Gordon, Aminu (12 points) and Evans (10 points) all reached double figures in the first half, much of which was controlled by New Orleans. The Pelicans seemed to surprise the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors by racing to an early double-digit lead. Rivers’ driving layup gave New Orleans a 31-18 lead late in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the lead reached 14 points several times, the last on Aminu’s layup that made it 50-36. At that point, there was 5:20 left in the second quarter, which was about all the time Toronto needed to nearly pull even.
The Raptors outscored the Pelicans 20-7 to close the half. DeRozan scored nine during the stint, including a three-point play on a driving layup and a 12-foot fade at the halftime horn that made it 57-56.
NOTES: The Pelicans went 3-3 on their six-game home stand. New Orleans next plays at Atlanta on Friday, then hosts Miami on Saturday to open a four-game home stand. … Vasquez, who played the previous two seasons in New Orleans, drew applause when he checked into the game late in the first quarter, then silenced the crowd with his clutch scoring in the final minutes. … The Raptors have not lost three straight since making a seven-player trade with Sacramento on Dec. 9.