Kyle Lowry limps away from Raptors’ rout of Knicks

Kyle Lowry limps away from Raptors’ rout of Knicks
The sense of dread and letdown and disappointment that enveloped the Scotiabank Centre on Monday evening was palpable as Kyle Lowry limped to the Raptors locker room.

He had been outstanding in his first game back after missing two with a sprained left ankle — 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds in just 26 minutes — when Mitchell Robinson of the New York Knicks rolled up on Lowry’s legs as the Raptors point guard was about to lead a fast break.

Lowry stayed down, writhing on the court in immediate frustration before being helped to the locker room. The team said he was having “right ankle soreness” and would not return, a happenstance that took any good feeling out of Toronto’s ridiculously easy 128-92 victory over the Knicks.

“It is what it is, it’s an injury. It happens,” Lowry said. “It’s unfortunate, injuries can come at any point in the season, at any point in the game ... (Robinson) grabbed me and pulled me down. I don’t think he did it on purpose. I know he didn’t think he was going to hurt me, I think he was trying to stop the play. Little bit dirty in a sense, but I don’t think he did it on purpose.

“But it happens, this game, injuries happen, it’s a part of it ... It’s pretty tender right now.”

Much will be made of the fact the Raptors were pummelling the Knicks 93-59 when Lowry was hurt, well on their way to their 50th win of the season. But Lowry hadn’t been overextended, he needed some floor time after missing two games, and he would likely have been done for the night about two minutes later.

Some with the ability to tell the future might have decided to get him out of the game at the previous stoppage, which had come about 32 seconds of game time earlier, but that ability eludes most NBA coaches.

Lowry had tests at the arena and will be further examined on Tuesday.

“It was a pretty rough fall,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We’re going to re-assess a bit tomorrow but I think ... not terribly bad. But we shall see. One on each side now.”

Before the injury, Lowry and Fred VanVleet had reprised a dominant backcourt role for Toronto, combining for 28 points and 20 assists.

The Raptors are now 11-1 when the two point guards start the same game with any combination of frontcourt help.

“Most of the time throughout the year we’ve gone with Freddy and Kyle, and it’s been really, really good for us,” Nurse said before the game. “And I think that Freddy coming off a really good performance (Sunday in Detroit), I just think him and Kyle are just such a deadly tandem out there that we’ve got to let them roll when we have the chance.”

Eight Raptors scored in double figures, who played without the resting Kawhi Leonard and the suspended Serge Ibaka.

Another 50-win season: The Raptors, now 50-21 on the season, have won 50 or more games for four consecutive seasons after not reaching that level in the first 16 years of the franchise’s existence.

Blistering start: The Raptors made 14 of 17 field-goal attempts in the first quarter for a blistering 82.4 per cent efficiency. It wasn’t the best shooting quarter in franchise history, either.

On Feb. 10, 2006, Toronto was 13-for-15 from the field (86.7 per cent) in the third quarter of a game in Charlotte.

The Raptors’ starters in that game against the Bobcats were Mike James, Morris Peterson, Charlie Villanueva, Chris Bosh and Antonio Davis. Toronto won 88-73.

Up next: A big Wednesday in Oklahoma City when the Thunder retire the number of Nick Collison before the 9:30 p.m. game against the Raptors.
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