TORONTO (AP) — Passed over for a place on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, Toronto guard Kyle Lowry is planning on a little rest and relaxation instead.
But Lowry and the rest of the Raptors aren't thinking about a midseason break just yet. They've got important business to take care of first.
Lowry had 19 points and 12 assists, Patrick Patterson scored a season-high 22 and the Raptors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 108-101 on Monday night.
Coming home after going 2-3 on a West Coast trip, the Raptors set their sights on registering consecutive home wins over New Orleans and Atlanta before All-Star weekend, and a five-day break between games.
"We talked about it," Lowry said. "That was the emphasis — we needed to get these games. We want to get both wins at home, protect home court, go into the break with a great conscience."
Patterson, who made his first Toronto start in place of injured Amir Johnson, echoed Lowry's comments about not letting up too soon.
"There's no one on this team that's not focused. There's no one on this team that's not ready to play," Patterson said. "We have to go into (Wednesday's game against Atlanta) with the same mentality that we had tonight. Nobody can focus on the All-Star break, no one can focus on getting away and being with family. We have to handle what we have here and get things done."
DeMar DeRozan also had 22 points, Terrence Ross added 14 and Tyler Hansbrough scored 12 for Toronto, which has won five consecutive meetings and seven of eight against New Orleans. The first-place Raptors moved three games ahead of Brooklyn in the Atlantic Division by winning for the ninth time in 11 home games.
"We dropped a lot of games earlier in the season at home," DeRozan said. "We really took the onus to understand that we've got to take advantage of home court and that's what we've been trying to do."
Toronto's 27 wins before the All-Star break are its most since the 2009-10 season, when it had 29.
"Tyler and Patrick carried us tonight," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "I thought they were huge in their minutes."
Tyreke Evans had 23 points and 10 assists, and Anthony Davis scored 19 for the Pelicans, who lost their second straight and have dropped four consecutive games in Toronto. Brian Roberts had 18 points for New Orleans, and Eric Gordon 10.
Evans returned after sitting out Sunday night's loss at Brooklyn. Pelicans coach Monty Williams said Sunday that Evans, the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year, did not play against the Nets because of an "internal" issue.
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