Raptors 'bite' early and refuse to ease up

TORONTO • On Sunday, the Toronto Raptors never had the lead against the Sacramento Kings.

On Tuesday, the Raptors led every step of the way and held on to defeat the Dallas Mavericks 103-99 in the National Basketball Association.

They did it with a fast start, leading by as many as 18 points in the first quarter.

"We just have to have a sense of urgency right out of the gate and understand that teams are coming after us," said guard DeMar DeRozan, who led Toronto with 28 points.

"We can't wait and we have to be the ones to throw the first punch and that's what we did tonight," he added.

The Raptors led by 32-16 after the first quarter, their biggest lead of the season after an opening quarter. They also allowed the fewest points in a first quarter for this season.

The Mavericks pulled back to within five points early in the second quarter but the Raptors took a 49-36 lead into the intermission.

The Raptors led 72-67 after three quarters when Cory Joseph managed a driving lay-up in the final second.

The Mavericks (15-13) reduced the advantage to two points with 11.6 seconds to play when forward Jeremy Evans made a lay-up and was fouled.

He missed his free throw and Toronto forward Terrence Ross completed a 16-point night by hitting two free throws.

Guard Kyle Lowry compiled 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Raptors (19-12).

Centre Bismack Biyombo contributed nine points and a career-best 20 rebounds.

Forward Luis Scola added 15 points and nine rebounds for Toronto and guard Joseph came up with 12 points.

"We had our (butt) kicked at the beginning of the game," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

"We knew they were going to come out hard.

"They did the exact same thing (in winning) in Dallas. They're coming off a tough loss, they're aggressive by nature. We really knew it, we talked about it and we didn't handle it well. Frankly, it was embarrassing."

Forward Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 20 points and seven rebounds while forward Matthews added 15 points.

Nowitzki is nine points short of tying centre Shaquille O'Neal for sixth place overall in career NBA scoring at 28,596 points.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2015, with the headline 'Raptors 'bite' early and refuse to ease up'. Print Edition | Subscribe