WASHINGTON (AP) — It took the Toronto Raptors a little while to get going in their first game since the All-Star break. Guard Kyle Lowry eventually provided a jump start.
Lowry had 24 points and 10 assists as the Raptors broke open a close game in the third quarter and held on for a 103-93 win over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
"He took the game over in the middle of the third quarter and willed us to a win," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Leading by six at halftime, the Atlantic Division leading Raptors pushed the lead to 17 as DeMar DeRozan's driving layup started a 15-2 run midway through the third quarter.
Lowry scored nine of the 15 points with a variety of shots, including a driving lay-up, a short fall-away jumper and a corner 3-pointer that made it 78-61 late in the period. He played the entire 12 minutes scored 14 points in the quarter.
"I just was getting more looks, trying to attack a little more" said Lowry, who wasn't named an All-Star, but came in averaging 16.7 points 7.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. "That first game out of the break is always tough and I didn't want to let that be an excuse for us to lose the game."
Five Raptors joined Lowry in double figures, including Amir Johnson, who returned after missing two games with a sore right ankle. He scored 14 points.
The Raptors, who have won three straight, also got 14 from Greivis Vasquez and DeRozan, who addressed the team before the game.
"Just (told) everybody to be focused," DeRozan said. "Each and every single game matters from here on out especially if we want to do something special. We can't take any nights off. These thirty games are going to be big and we have to start tonight."
The Raptors led by as many as 20 midway through the fourth quarter, before being held without a field goal for the final 7:36. The Wizards pulled to within 99-90 on a 3-pointer by Martell Webster with 2:04 left.
Following a steal, Nene's layup made it 99-92. After John Wall collected a steal, Nene made one of two free throws with 1:32 left, but Lowry hit a pair of free throws, however, to make it 101-93 with 1:02 left.
Toronto shot 57 percent from the field (42-of-74) for the game, and finished with 60 points inside.