Raptors take charge en route to win vs. Pelicans

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange  |  Nov. 14, 2015 at 12:34 AM
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TORONTO -- It was just a matter of time for the Toronto Raptors.

They trailed by four points after the first quarter, tied it by halftime and took charge in the third quarter, a familiar pattern for them this season.

The result was a 100-81 victory over the injury-depleted New Orleans Pelicans, who were missing five players, including forward/center Anthony Davis.

"I think we played a good game in the first half," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "We competed, were very good defensively and we did a good job on the boards. In the second half they got into us and played with a lot more intensity. ... We played poorly in the second half. We had more intensity in the first half than in the second half."

Point guard Kyle Lowry and center Jonas Valanciunas each scored 20 points to lead the Raptors (7-3). Valanciunas also pulled in 10 rebounds.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Valanciunas is maturing as a player.

"That's the main thing," he said. "Jonas is growing up. I've been preaching that now since I've been here. It's just going to take time."

Guard Eric Gordon led the Pelicans (1-8) with a season-best 30 points, including 16 in the first quarter.

It was the second win in a row for the Raptors after losing three in a row. They opened the season with a five-game winning streak.

Guard DeMar DeRozan added 15 points and had a season-best 11 assists for the Raptors.

"(The assists were) big because we put him in a lot of situations where he had to find," Casey said. "He was bringing a crowd with him. He took what the game gave to him. They were trying to get the ball out of his hands and he did a good job of finding and it helps when you knock the 3-ball down."

Forward DeMarre Carroll chipped in with 11 points for Toronto and reserve forward Patrick Patterson contributed 10 points.

"The only thing that really matters to me is defense," Patterson said. "As long as I'm effective on the defensive end, talking, communicating and covering my responsibilities, the rest will take care of itself. When my shot falls, my confidence goes up. Progressively the offense is starting to flow and that's better for me."

Guard Jrue Holiday added 19 points for the Pelicans and center Alexis Ajinca scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Ajinca had other things on his mind. He is from France and he said everyone in his family is safe after Friday's bombings and shootings in Paris.

"It's a crazy world," Ajinca said. "You think you are safe and you are just walking down the street and the next thing that you know people just start shooting. It is just crazy. My prayers go to my family, France and Paris right now and I hope everybody is safe. Pretty much all of my family is in Paris and I just found out that everybody is ok now."

Gordon scored 16 points in the first quarter in 6-for-10 shooting to give the Pelicans a 21-17 lead. Valanciunas led the Raptors with eight first-quarter points.

The first half ended 40-40 after Toronto forward DeMarre Carroll hit a 3-pointer with 52.9 seconds to play. Gordon finished the half with 20 points and Valanciunas had 15 points and seven rebounds.

Lowry hit a 3-pointer to give the Raptors a 53-50 lead with 7:39 to play in the third quarter.

Lowry and forward Luis Scola hit successive 3-pointers to give Toronto a 65-55 lead. Patterson hit a 3-pointer for the final points of the third quarter that gave the Raptors a 72-61 lead.

Patterson also opened the scoring in the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 13.

The Raptors led by 24 midway through the fourth quarter.

"I think we felt that we weren't playing the style of basketball (in the first half) that we knew we could play at both ends," DeRozan said. "We had to pick it up and get some stops and try to get out in transition and change the tempo of the game to our pace."

"I think they just started hitting shots, some tough shots and some in the paint," Holiday said. "After that they kind of got in a rhythm, got in a groove."

NOTES: New Orleans F/C Anthony Davis (right hip contusion) did not play Friday and no time has been set for a return. ... Also on the sidelines for the Pelicans were C Kendrick Perkins (right pectoral), G/F Quincy Pondexter (left knee), G/F Tyreke Evans (right knee), and G Norris Cole (sprained left ankle). ... F DeMarre Carroll (sore right heel) returned to the Raptors lineup Friday after missing three games while F/G Terrence Ross (left thumb ligament) missed his third straight game. ... Toronto assigned F Bruno Caboclo and C Lucas Nogueira to the Raptors 905 of the NBA Development League. The 905 play their first game Saturday at Fort Wayne. ... The Raptors play Sunday against the Kings at Sacramento. ... The Pelicans play Sunday afternoon at New York against the Knicks.

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