Lewenberg: Lowry dazzles hometown crowd with triple-double

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Josh Lewenberg
1/25/2014 2:28:43 AM
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PHILADELPHIA - Five minutes after Kyle Lowry recorded his fourth career triple-double, and second as a member of the Raptors, he was back in the locker room glued to his phone, streaming the Knicks game.

At the time, Carmelo Anthony was at the tail end of a career and Knicks franchise-record setting performance in New York. Melo had 60 points and counting, as Lowry watched in amazement.

"They just took him out," he told an enquiring DeMar DeRozan, putting down his phone to speak with the media following his own remarkable showing.

No, Lowry didn't score 62 points - Anthony's final point total - but he too was coming off a game he'll remember for the rest of his professional career, and beyond.

"It's always special to play here," said the Philadelphia-native, who put up 18 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists in front of over 50 friends and family members in Toronto's 104-95 victory over the 76ers.

And his triple-double?

"As long as it's with a win, it's a great feat."

The win didn't come easy. Toronto got off to a quick start before coughing up an early 13-point lead to the last place 76ers. The Raptors trailed by one at the break and exchanged buckets with a tenacious Philadelphia team during the third quarter.

Down one with a minute remaining in the third, Lowry drained a short jumper to give his team the lead, adding a step-back 18-footer prior to the buzzer.

Half of section 123 - five or six rows of Lowry supporters - was on their feet as the quarter came to an end. The Raptors never relinquished their lead from there.

"Always, coming here and winning the game is most important," said the Raptors' point guard. "Even if I play terrible, if we win the game and I give my family something to cheer for I'm happy."

How big was his own personal cheering section?

"50-something [people], a small amount," he said with a smirk.

Following Friday morning shoot around, Lowry - having spent the previous night back at home - spoke about staying professional and blocking out the natural distraction of being in a familiar setting. He got his ticket requests in Thursday evening and by 5:00, two hours before tip-off, he insisted his phone would be turned off.

"It's always special to be able to have them sit behind you and cheer for you and cheer for the team," he said. "It's definitely different but I'm still a professional, I've got to do my job, I've got to help my team win."

48 hours earlier, Lowry missed all 10 of his field goal attempts as he batted the flu, running back-and-forth from the restroom in Wednesday's victory over Dallas.

DeRozan picked up the slack for his ailing comrade, scoring a career-best 40 points. They've become something of a tag team. On Friday, with Lowry back to full health after some home cooking, both guards were tremendous.

"That's what he do, man," said DeRozan, who had 34 points of his own, including 16 in the fourth and 13 from the free throw line. "He puts us all in great positions to score. He rebounds, he pushes the ball, he does it all when he's out there on the court. You can't ask for another point guard like that who can do all those things."

Lowry and DeRozan, are both awaiting their All-Star fate. The league's coaches will vote in the reserves - they have until the weekend to submit their ballots - and Toronto's backcourt duo is making one final, eye catching push.

"He's an All-Star," DeRozan said of Lowry.

"He's an All-Star," Lowry said of DeRozan.

"They're both All-Stars," said Amir Johnson.

They'll find out on Thursday, but for now they're both relieved to be winning once again. After dropping three of four last week the Raptors have been victorious in two straight ahead of a daunting matchup with the Clippers in the second night of a back-to-back Saturday and a crucial showdown with the suddenly red-hot, division rival Nets Monday.

"I don't think we ever lost it," DeRozan said with confidence. "We understand we can't win every game. There are going to be games we wish we should have win but it might just not be our night. We understand that. We just have to stay positive when we lose a game, understand we have to learn from our mistakes and keep going."

Meanwhile, DeRozan - making his All-Star bid - has scored 74 points in two games, shooting 11-for-16 in the fourth quarter during that stretch.

Not bad right?

"Melo had 62 [tonight]," he said. "I really didn't do too much."

Kyle Lowry (Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
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