TORONTO - Injuries have depleted the Toronto Raptors, but head coach Dwane Casey said it is a chance for other players to step up and show what they can do.
That's what happened against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday as Linas Kleiza and rookie Terrence Ross provided punch from the bench in the Raptors' 95-74 victory before a crowd of 19,132 at Air Canada Centre.
Kleiza led all scorers with 20 points, 12 in the fourth quarter on four three-pointers, and Ross added 18 points, including seven in the final quarter.
It snapped the Raptors' six-game losing streak and was their second victory in their past 14 games.
But Casey said there was no sense of relief.
"No, no," he said. "We still have a lot of games to play. We need to continue with the basics. Everyone who steps on that floor has to be defensive-minded."
The Raptors had a good defensive effort, holding the Mavs to 39 per cent shooting from the field.
"That was one of the best that we've had," said Casey, a former Mavs assistant coach. "Our guys did a good job as a whole. We have spent the last couple of days getting back to basics. That is the only thing you can do when you are knocked down."
It was the second loss in a row for the Mavs, and head coach Rick Carlisle was not impressed by the performance, but also gave the Raptors credit.
"They played great and we played poorly," Carlisle said. "They had a lot to do with us playing poorly. After tonight, it's very, very clear that whatever problems the Raptors franchise has is completely unrelated to coaching, because Dwane Casey is doing a great job with a roster that's beat up. I just have so much respect for him."
Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan each scored 14 points for Toronto.
Chris Kaman led Dallas with 15 points, while Brandan Wright scored 13 after coming off the bench. Shawn Marion added 12 and O.J. Mayo had 10.
The Mavs lost in double overtime at Boston on Wednesday, but Kaman did not feel that was a factor.
"No, I thought they did a good job of giving us the day off yesterday," he said. "I thought our defense was up and down. You have to play at both ends of the floor if you want to win. It's frustrating after going to double overtime with the Celtics and a team like that, then coming in here and losing by 20 to a team that is struggling. They played hard and played a good game for them tonight."
"We played as a team and we moved the ball," Kleiza said. "We weren't perfect on offense, we missed a lot of shots, but we moved the ball, trusted each other and played great defense. Sometimes we score 95 and get blown out, so defense was the key and just trusting each other, having fun, sharing the ball and playing as a team."
The Raptors took a 14-point lead out of the third quarter, and after Kleiza opened the fourth with a pair of 3-pointers, they led 75-55.
A driving layup by John Lucas off a Dallas turnover had the Raptors in front by 22 points before the teams exchanged 3-pointers by Marion and Kleiza.
The Raptors bumped the lead to 26 points with 6:09 to play when Ross made a 3-pointer. Another 3-pointer by Kleiza and a slam dunk by Ross gave Toronto a 92-63 lead with 4:10 left in the game.
The Raptors (5-19) were up by 13 points going into the second half on the strength of a 30-16 second quarter. Consecutive 3-pointers by DeRozan and Mikael Pietrus had the Raptors lead at 20 points with eight minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Raptors led 66-45 before the Mavs (11-12) began to chip away at the lead by scoring the next eight points, six on free throws.
After a series of misses and stops by both teams, Calderon hit a 3-pointer with 1:47 to play in the third quarter to put the Raptors up 69-53.
The Mavericks led 25-24 after the first quarter. The Raptors dominated the second quarter and led 54-41 at the half.
NOTES: The Raptors, who went with nine players and used eight in Wednesday's loss to Brooklyn, had Amir Johnson back from a one-game suspension Friday. ... Also returning were Alan Anderson (foot), who missed 17 games, and Kleiza (knee), who missed two games. ... Andrea Bargnani is out indefinitely with a torn right elbow tendon, and Kyle Lowry is out 10 days with a partially torn right triceps. ... Bargnani was quoted in an Italian newspaper as saying the Raptors are the worst team in the NBA. Casey dismissed it by saying he wondered how much of what the forward-center said was lost in the translation to English. ... The Mavs' Jae Crowder (illness) is listed as day to day. ... Dirk Nowitzki has been out all season after knee surgery, and there is no timetable for his return. ... Former Raptors star Vince Carter made his 12th appearance at ACC with his fourth different team since leaving Toronto in 2005. He was loudly booed as usual. ... Dallas will play at Minnesota on Saturday. The Raptors are home to Houston on Sunday.