Lowry pours in 40 points

The Canadian Press

TORONTO—When Kyle Lowry drilled his sixth three-pointer of the game last night, he shot a grin at his bench.
The Toronto Raptors’ point guard, who showed up at training camp significantly more trim and fit, poured in 40 points—a franchise record for the pre-season—to lift the Raptors to a 112-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I’ll tell you what, I want him to save some of those, he’s hot as a firecracker,” quipped Raptors’ coach Dwane Casey.
Cory Joseph added 14 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 13, while Luis Scola had 12 and DeMarre Carroll finished with 11 for Toronto (3-1).
Andrew Wiggins, the reigning NBA rookie-of-the-year from Vaughan, Ont., led the T’wolves (0-3) with 21 points in 18 minutes
Lowry, who was terrific early on last season but struggled down the stretch, worked hard on his body in the off-season—and the results have been obvious.
“He was unbelievable tonight, he was making everything,” Joseph noted.
“He could probably have turned backwards and threw it at the rim, it probably would have went in.”
Lowry racked up his points in just 28 minutes, shooting 13-for-18 from the field and 6-for-9 from beyond the arc.
He also hit all eight of his free throws.
Lowry, wearing a Blue Jays’ jacket in the post-game locker-room, shrugged off his prolific night, saying the record meant “not a damn thing.”
“I’ve felt pretty comfortable every game,” he noted.
“For me it’s about maintaining, start off well, finish well,” Lowry added. “It’s only pre-season.”
Vince Carter held the previous pre-season record of 38 points.
The game was a homecoming not just for Wiggins, who purchased 16 courtside seats for the game, but for Raptors’ Joseph and Anthony Bennett—who both were playing their first games in Toronto for their hometown team.
“I was excited to play in front of my family, fans, friends,” Joseph said.
“A lot of love floating around here.”
Bennett, whose defence has been impressive thus far, had five rebounds to go with three points in 19 minutes.
Wiggins’ older brother Nick, signed by Minnesota last month, also got into the game, scoring four points in the final five minutes.
“It was huge for the city and for the country, four Canadians on the floor,” Joseph noted.
“Even though it’s pre-season . . . it’s unbelievable.
“It just goes to show how much talent we have here in Canada and we’re moving up the ranks,” he noted.
The Raptors rested DeMar DeRozan while Kevin Garnett didn’t play for the T’wolves, for the same reason.
The Raptors’ game tipped off just as the Blue Jays were sealing their victory against the Texas Rangers to force a Game 5 of their American League Division Series.
Casey said he would have forgiven a sparse crowd but 19,277 fans showed up.
“If there’s nobody here tonight, they’ve got a good excuse,” Casey had said prior to tip-off.
“I’m a baseball man, grew up playing baseball, coaching it,” he noted.
“I think all our players, they’re all in [the locker-room] watching it, so don’t let them tell you they don’t like baseball.”
The Raptors and T’wolves meet again in Ottawa tomorrow night as part of the NBA’s “Canada Series,” which featured sold-out games in Winnipeg and Vancouver, and then Ottawa and Montreal.
The Raptors play the Washington Wizards in Montreal to cap the series Oct. 23.