TORONTO — On a night announcers nudged fans to vote Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan into the NBA all-star game in Toronto, the Raptors’ dynamic duo played like they belonged there.
Lowry had 31 points, while DeRozan added 30 — the first time they’ve scored 30 points in the same game — to lift the Raptors to their fifth straight win Monday, a 112-100 victory over the beleaguered Brooklyn Nets.
"They played like all-stars tonight, and without their performance we don’t win the game," said coach Dwane Casey.
Trailing 84-81 with one quarter to go, Lowry found another gear, pouring in 13 points, including three of his game-high seven three-pointers.
"Just knowing that’s the situation that is the most important part of the game," Lowry said of his ability to come up big down the stretch.
DeRozan’s big game came hours after he was named one of 30 finalists for the U.S. Olympic team.
The two have formed a strong bond in their three-and-a-half seasons together that’s evident in their fluidity on the floor.
"The continuity, the offensive sets, the spacing, and they understand where each other is going to be," Casey said.
Lowry, who shot an efficient 10-for-13 on the night and doled out eight assists, said DeRozan makes it easy for him.
"Because that’s our guy, that’s our scorer," Lowry said. "At the end of the day I get him the ball and he makes plays. For me it’s not about doing this or doing that. It’s about getting him in a position to be successful. It makes my job a lot easier when you have a guy who can get you 10 assists or 30 points."
Lowry was a starter on last year’s all-star team, while DeRozan played in the league’s annual showcase in 2014.
With Monday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline for voting looming, social media exploded.
One Lowry fan — Lewis Hilsenteger, the creator of the online show "Unbox Therapy" — was offering an iPhone to someone who retweeted his vote for the Raptors point guard. That tweet had more than 33,000 retweets before Hilsenteger realized they might not count because it was his second tweet in support of Lowry in one day.
He upped the ante, offering three iPhones. As of 11 p.m. Monday, it had 36,000 retweets.
"Honestly, I appreciate the hell out of it," Lowry said on the fan support. "It has been an unbelievable time in my life and my career and the fans have been unbelievable. They are one of the reasons I stayed here and committed to Toronto long-term.
"Just being here and knowing I have the support of the country and they have the support of me. It has been amazing and hopefully something can be pulled off."
Terrence Ross added 12 points for Toronto (26-15), while Patrick Patterson finished with 12.
Brook Lopez topped the Nets (11-31) with 29 points, while Joe Johnson added 22.
The Raptors were playing their first of seven games at home, finally back after an 11-day road trip that culminated with a 106-103 overtime win versus Orlando at London last Thursday.
Toronto’s win streak started with a 91-74 win at Brooklyn on June 6. Since then, the struggling Nets fired coach Lionel Hollins and reassigned general manager Billy King. Assistant Tony Brown is serving as the interim head coach, and the team remains without a GM.
But the Raptors never led by more than nine points through the first three quarters. A thrilling 10-0 Raptors run that Lowry capped by draining a three-pointer with 3:34 to play finally gave Toronto some breathing room, and a 108-98 lead in front of a capacity Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,800.
The Raptors would stretch their advantage to 14 points, and in the final minute Casey subbed his starters out of the game to a loud ovation.
The Nets shot 58 per cent in the first quarter to take a 29-19 lead into the second.
Toronto roared back in the second and went ahead by a point when Lowry drilled a three with six minutes remaining. But three baskets by Lopez had the Nets pull within three, and the Raptors went into the halftime dressing room with a narrow 52-49 lead.