LOS ANGELES (dpa) – Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors didn’t look like they were on a long road trip. And Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t look like they were on a long homestand.
Lowry scored 25 points Saturday as he outplayed Paul and the Raptors pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 110-98 victory over the Clippers, who had an eight-game home winning streak snapped.
Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who began a six-game trek with Monday’s loss at Chicago and still have visits to Golden State and Portland on their itinerary. Toronto improved to 23-7, the best record in the Eastern Conference, and is 10-4 since losing All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan to a groin injury.
“We can’t make excuses because DeMar’s not playing,” said Lowry, who added seven assists and three steals. “It’s all about the next man up. We’re a very deep team.”
Lowry got the better of Paul, considered by many as the best point guard in the NBA. Paul made just 3-of-12 shots and scored 10 points, matching his season low.
“It felt like we ran out of gas before the game even started,” said Paul, who added eight assists.
The Clippers (20-11) had not lost at home since Nov 17 and began a nine-game homestand – the longest in the NBA in 35 years – with a Christmas win over league-leading Golden State. They may have been thrown off by the early afternoon start.
“A few of us said at 12:30, right before tip-off, we were like, ‘Man, it feels like we played last night,’” said Clippers guard JJ Redick, who scored 23 points. “It’s not an excuse. Toronto played amazing, great second half.”
The Raptors pulled away in the fourth quarter without the help of Lowry, who scored just two points in the period. Toronto got a huge boost from reserves Greivis Vasquez of Venezuela (16 points), Patrick Patterson (10), and Lou Williams (9).
“We’ve got a great bench and we feed off of each other,” Vasquez said.
The Raptors opened the fourth quarter with a 13-2 burst featuring a three-pointer from Patterson and two from Vasquez for a 93-80 lead with 9:03 to play. Williams drained a pair of three-pointers 30 seconds apart before a basket by Valanciunas made it 103-86 with 4:54 to go.
“We did break down in a lot of areas,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “They do a great job moving the ball. They stretch you out.”
Terrence Ross scored 11 points and Amir Johnson grabbed 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who made 13 three-pointers and had 25 assists.
Blake Griffin scored 22 points, Jamal Crawford added 20 and DeAndre Jordan swept 20 boards for the Clippers, who made 12 threes but committed 15 turnovers.
Memphis Grizzlies 103, Miami Heat 95: Spanish star Marc Gasol had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the visiting Grizzlies snapped a four-game slide. Dwyane Wade scored 25 points for the Heat.
Chicago Bulls 107, New Orleans Pelicans 100: Jimmy Butler scored 33 points to power the host Bulls to their sixth straight win. Chicago native Anthony Davis had 29 points, 11 boards and six blocks for the Pelicans.
Golden State Warriors 110, Minnesota Timberwolves Stephen Curry scored 25 points for the Warriors, who improved to 11-1 at home and dealt the Timberwolves their eighth straight setback.
Washington Wizards 101, Boston Celtics 88: Former Celtics Kris Humphries and Paul Pierce scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, to lift the host Wizards to their eighth win in 10 games. Boston has lost four in a row.
Orlando Magic 102, Charlotte Hornets 94: Montenegro’s Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 11 boards as the visiting Magic overcame a career-high 42 points by Kemba Walker.
Indiana Pacers 110, Brooklyn Nets 85: Rodney Stuckey scored 20 points to lead seven players in double figures as the visiting Pacers stopped the Nets’ three-game winning streak.
Atlanta Hawks 90, Milwaukee Bucks 85: Jeff Teague collected 25 points and seven assists as the Hawks avenged a home loss to the Bucks one night earlier.
Sacramento Kings 135, New York Knicks 129 (OT): DeMarcus Cousins scored nine of his season-high 39 points in overtime as the host Kings overcame 36 points by Carmelo Anthony and handed the Knicks their seventh consecutive loss.
Utah Jazz 88, Philadelphia 76ers 71: Derrick Favors and Trey Burke scored 17 points each for the Jazz, who have won four of five overall and beat the 76ers for the 10th straight time at home.