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DeRozan nets career-best 40, Raptors beat Mavs

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors showed on Wednesday that is not so important how they start but how they finish.

After falling behind by as many as 21 points during the first quarter, the Raptors came back to defeat the Dallas Mavericks 93-85 as guard DeMar DeRozan scored a career-best 40 points.

"I just told myself to try to do as much as I can to help us win," DeRozan said. "Try to pull this one off and keep my team in it and that's what we did."

The Raptors trailed 34-15 after the first quarter but pulled to within five points at the half.

"We played two good quarter and they played three good quarters," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's a 48-minute game and we've got to do it for four quarters."

The Mavericks rested starting forward Dirk Nowitzki for the game but Carlisle did not use it as an excuse.

"We got off to a big lead without him," he said.

It caught the Raptors by surprise.

"We really didn't know until he walked out with a suit on, like 10 minutes before the tip off," said DeRozan, whose previous career best was 37 points.

With guard Kyle Lowry held to three points and five assists while playing with the stomach flu, backup guard Greivis Vasquez played a key role for the Raptors (21-20) with 17 points and seven assists. Center Jonas Valanciunas scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Raptors who had lost their two previous games.

Guard Monta Ellis led Dallas (25-19) with 21 points while former Raptors guard Jose Calderon and forward Brandan Wright added 13 each.

"Greivis is playing at a high level," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "He did a good job of controlling Jose (Calderon) since Kyle was under the weather."

It was the second game in a row in which the Raptors have had a poor first quarter. They were down 26-11 in Charlotte after the first quarter and trailed by as many as 30 before losing to the Bobcats 100-95.

"This is the year of no lead too big, no deficit too (much)," Carlisle said. "You see big leads disappear all the time."

DeRozan said he thought about the Charlotte game after Wednesday's first quarter.

"We were down by 30 against Charlotte and we came back," he said. "It's frustrating when you get down early like that and you know you have to fight extra hard just to get back in it."

The Mavericks made 21 turnovers leading to 25 points while the Raptors made 11 leading to 11 points. The Raptors had a 40-33 edge in rebounds.

"In that first quarter I thought it was going to be a blowout," said Casey, a former assistant coach at Dallas. "But in the second half we kind of got things back under control."

Lowry who finished with three points and five assists scored his first two points of the night when he made two free throws with 9:12 to play in the game to cut the Mavericks lead to three points. Valanciunas cut the lead to one on a turnaround bank shot with 5:56 to play as the Raptors took advantage of an offensive foul called on Ellis.

Lowry tied the game at 80 with 5:13 left when he made one of two free throws. Calderon put Dallas in front by one point when he converted one of two free throws with 5:00 to play, but the Raptors took an 82-81 lead on a layup by Valanciunas.

Ellis made one of two free throws to tie the game at 82 with 4:17 remaining. DeRozan put the Raptors into a three-point lead with 3:38 to play with a driving shot and hit the resulting free throw to complete a three-point play to surpass his career high in points.

Wright hit a jump shot for Dallas but forward Amir Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 3:00 left to give Toronto an 88-84 lead. Johnson put in a dunk after a Dallas turnover for a 90-85 lead. DeRozan made a slam dunk for a seven-point lead with 1:48 to play. Valanciunas made one of two foul shots with 44.3 to play to complete the scoring.

NOTES: Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki did not play on Wednesday to rest after the team had 10 games in 16 days. F Jae Crowder started in his place. ... Raptors F Landry Fields had minor surgery Tuesday for the ulnar nerve release on his right wrist. Fields is expected to return to light basketball-related activities in three weeks. ... Mavericks C Samuel Dalembert (left shoulder) participated in the shootaround on Wednesday morning and was cleared to start against the Raptors. An MRI showed only a bruise to the shoulder that was injured on Monday's win at Cleveland. ...The Mavericks recalled G Ricky Ledo from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League for Wednesday's game. ... Raptors F Tyler Hansbrough (left ankle sprain) did not play and has missed 11 games in a row.
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