Kyle Lowry drills crazy tough OT game-winner to push Raptors past Pelicans

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Kyle Lowry didn't need much room to plunge a dagger into the Pelicans' hearts. (AP)
Kyle Lowry didn’t need much room to plunge a dagger into the Pelicans’ hearts. (AP)

The Toronto Raptors were once again without DeMar DeRozan on Tuesday, as the All-Star shooting guard missed his fourth game in Toronto’s last five outings working through a sprained right ankle. The Raps still had one All-Star going, though, and that was enough to knock off the visiting New Orleans Pelicans:

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Lowry drilled a tough fadeaway jumper from the left corner over the outstretched arm of in-his-jock Pelicans defender Solomon Hill to break a 106-all tie with 4.3 seconds remaining in overtime. E’Twaun Moore’s look at 3-point answer on the other end came up empty, thanks in part to a strong closeout by Toronto swingman DeMarre Carroll, and the Raptors escaped a game they’d trailed by 14 at halftime with a 108-106 win.

Asked after the game what he was thinking on the final possession, Lowry said, “Get a shot off, get to my spot, get to the left side. Solomon Hill played some good D, but I got a little bit of separation, got the ball up high enough and made the shot.”

The Raptors looked to be on the way to their seventh loss in eight games after a sluggish second quarter that saw New Orleans open up a 60-46 advantage behind the hot shooting of Jrue Holiday.

“It was like a funeral in here,” Lowry said of the halftime mood in the Raptors’ locker room, according to Paul Attfield of The Associated Press.

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After halftime, though, Lowry and backcourt partner Norman Powell sparked a pair of early third-quarter runs that put Toronto back on top, with the second-year guard — getting another start in place of the injured DeRozan — bringing the Air Canada Centre crowd to its feet with a monster dunk right in the mug of All-Star big man Anthony Davis:

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Despite an uncharacteristically off night for Davis, who’d finish with 18 points on just 4-for-18 shooting, the Pelicans hung tough, buoyed by sharp shooting from reserve guard Moore (who made a career-high-tying five 3-pointers) and the playmaking juice of Holiday and backup big man Terrence Jones. The teams traded the lead back and forth throughout the third and fourth quarters, and when neither side could get over the hump in the final two minutes — Powell locked down Holiday, UCLA-on-UCLA violence, on a couple of pivotal late possessions, while Davis blocked a Lowry step-back 3 try from the right wing with just over one minute left — the game headed to OT, knotted at 96.

As he has so often over the past few years, Lowry carried the Raptors in the extra session. He scored seven of the Raps’ 12 overtime points, including a huge pull-up 3 to put Toronto up four with just under two minutes remaining. After a Davis floater tied the game again with 29 seconds left, Lowry capped the contest with the hero-ball game-winner from the corner — after which, as he told his buddy DeMar after the game, he briefly considered celebrating in a style that the great Sam Cassell would’ve appreciated:

Lowry decided better of it, preferring to save his money. (Bummer.) He finished with 33 points on 11-for-21 shooting, including a 6-for-14 mark from 3-point land, to go with 10 assists, four rebounds and just three turnovers in 45 minutes of work. He has now scored 30 or more in three straight games for the first time in his career, a streak he’ll look to keep going when the Raptors head to Massachusetts to take on the surging Boston Celtics — who sit just a half-game ahead of the Raps in the race for the No. 2 seed in the East — at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Winning the second game of a back-to-back on the road against a good Boston team without DeRozan after going to OT won’t be easy. When Lowry’s cooking, though, the Raptors always feel like they’ve got a shot — even when that shot’s a contested fadeaway fired as the clock ticks down toward zero.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!