The Toronto Raptors were mired in a 30-point hole and looked headed for the team’s worst loss of the season. The mood in the huddle, said coach Nick Nurse, was “really bad.” His team had a flight to catch to Indiana later that night, and another game to play less than 24 hours later.
The Raptors could have called it a night early. Instead, led by a remarkable fourth-quarter performance by Kyle Lowry, the Raptors recorded the greatest comeback in franchise history Sunday in a 110-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
“We have always been a team that fights,” Nurse said. “In my time here, we hardly ever mail it in. It’s a good characteristic to have.”
Lowry scored 20 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, and the Raptors roared back from a 30-point third-quarter deficit.
“I think that was a one-off game, but you could see how hard we played, and that’s something you take from and you continue to build on,” Lowry said.
“That’s the part of that game you take and say ‘Yeah, that’s a hard-playing team right there,’ no matter what, we were down whatever we were, it didn’t even feel like it, we just went out there and played.”
WATCH | Furious 4th quarter rally leads to historic comeback:
The all-star point guard added 10 assists and eight rebounds and, with a couple of minutes to play, the capacity crowd of 19,800 fans Scotiabank Arena broke into chants of “Low-ry! Low-ry!”
“He was unbelievable, right?” Nurse said. “And he really didn’t have that good a game going until that point, too. Then he started firing and making and driving and and-one-ing — he was doing it all. I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like it.”
Montreal’s Chris Boucher scored a career-high 21 points, including a huge dunk in the dying seconds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 18 points for the undermanned Raptors (21-8), who were playing without Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Norman Powell (shoulder).
<a href=”https://t.co/Y6FPDLV41E”>https://t.co/Y6FPDLV41E</a> <a href=”https://t.co/FhHrp3K0d1″>pic.twitter.com/FhHrp3K0d1</a>
Jalen Brunson had 21 points for the Mavericks (19-10), who were missing star guard Luka Doncic for the fourth consecutive game (ankle). Toronto native Dwight Powell added 17 points.
Toronto’s largest comeback before Sunday came when the Raptors erased a 25-point deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 120-116 on Dec. 11, 2010.
It’s also the first 30-point comeback in the league since Dec. 21, 2009, when the Sacramento Kings overcame a 35-point hole to beat the Chicago Bulls 102-98.
Dallas has been one of the best road teams this season, arriving in Toronto with an 11-2 away record. The Raptors played the gracious host for most of the afternoon. The Raptors had an early 12-point lead, but without any sustained energy on either side of the court, saw that quickly evaporate. When Powell slashed to the rim for a layup late in the third quarter, the Mavericks went ahead by 30.
Lowry plays hero for Toronto
Trailing 86-63 to start the fourth, the Raptors finally showed some life. The team chipped away at the deficit and when Lowry drilled a three-pointer with 8:05 to play, glancing over at the Dallas bench as the ball dropped, the Raptors were within 10 points.
“All [Lowry] said was ‘keep pushing,”‘ Boucher said. “He led us the right way, put us in great spots. Kyle does that every time. Even when people don’t see it. Kyle’s a great leader.”
Lowry’s heroics continued, and when he dropped a shoulder and drove to the hoop for a layup with 5:59 to play, it was a two-point game. Back-to-back Lowry three-pointers had the Raptors up by five with 3:05 to play. It was Lowry again with a layup with 1:18 to play to give Toronto a four-point cushion.
Dallas took a one-point lead on a pair of Kristaps Porzingis free throws, but Lowry handed off to Boucher for an emphatic dunk with 19 seconds to play to put the Raptors back on top.
“I’m surprised [Lowry] saw me,” Boucher said. “I was just running for the offensive rebound and he saw me coming through. I missed a couple of layups today so I made sure I was going to hit that one and finish strong.”
Bunson’s shot with two seconds left bounced off the rim, then Boucher headed to the line for a pair of free throws, the icing on the Raptors’ 47-point quarter.
‘Very disappointing loss’
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle took “full responsibility” for his team’s loss.
“Very disappointing loss,” he said. “We got to a point where we lost our aggression. When you get hit with that kind of force, you’ve got to respond with equal or greater force, and we just didn’t do it soon enough.”
Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 16 points on the night, said it was a great lesson for Dallas.
“They were just taking it to us. Before you knew it, they cut the lead to 10 and then cut the lead to five,” he said. “It shows that whenever you’re up that much, you can’t let up, you can’t back down from the competition, you can’t ease yourself into the win because the game isn’t even over yet.”
WATCH | Raptors’ Lowry, Thomas debut in The Nutcracker:
The Raptors, who lost 110-102 in Dallas on Nov. 16, raced out to an early 12-point lead, thanks largely to the Mavericks’ poor shooting in the quarter — 21.7 per cent. But the Mavs started to find their shooting groove toward the end of the frame, and pulled to within 20-17 heading into the second.
Toronto struggled mightily in the second quarter, connecting on just one of seven shots from behind the arc. Porzingis’s three with just under four minutes left in the half capped a 16-2 Mavericks run that put the visitors up by eight points.
The Mavs had possession for just 4.1 seconds to end the half, but Porzingis still managed to launch a 30-footer at the buzzer, and Dallas headed into halftime with a 51-42 lead.
The Raptors are in Indianapolis against the Pacers on Monday, then return home to host the Boston Celtics on Christmas day.
Stars’ Hintz, Bishop, Comeau and Faksa ‘unfit to play’ in Game 5 – Sportsnet.ca
Hintz left Game 4 after taking a hit from Tyler Johnson in the second period and did not return. In 25 games this post-season, the 23-year-old has 13 points.
Faksa will miss his seventh straight game with an undisclosed injury, while Comeau is out for his second straight game. Bishop has been sidelined since Game 5 against the Colorado Avalanche.
Goalie Anton Khudobin missed the Stars’ morning skate as Jake Oettinger was present at practice but the team confirmed that Khudobin would get the start.
The Stars trail the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 in their series. Puck drop for Game 5 is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET on Sportsnet.
Stamkos remains out of Lightning lineup for Game 5 vs. Stars – Sportsnet.ca
Tampa’s captain suited up in Game 3, but was declared unfit to play for Friday’s Game 4 victory. Before Game 5, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Stamkos will not play on Saturday. However, earlier Cooper did not rule him out for the remainder of the series, should Dallas stave off elimination Saturday.
Stamkos has missed the entirety of the Lightning’s post-season run due to an injury suffered before the club reconvened from the season’s pause to begin training. Managing only 2:47 minutes of ice-time during Game 3, Stamkos made an immediate impact upon returning to the lineup, scoring the second goal of the Bolts’ eventual 5-2 win just seven minutes into the tilt.
Stamkos posted 29 goals and 66 points through 57 regular-season games in 2019-20, dominating before being forced to the sidelines with a core muscle injury.
Lightning-Stars stream: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final – NHL
NBC’s coverage of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs continues with Saturday’s Stanley Cup Final matchup between the Lightning and Stars. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Watch the Lightning-Stars stream on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
Boosted by the long-awaited and “inspirational” return of Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning got goals from all three of their first-line forwards, their top defenseman and their captain in a threee-goal win to move within two wins of the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. For the second straight game, Tampa jumped out to a multi-goal first-period lead before the Stars got on the board. The Dallas Stars cut the deficit to one entering the second period, but the middle frame was all Lightning, outscoring Dallas 3-0 in large part thanks to a 21-4 shot differential.
After Game 2, Kevin Shattenkirk said, “when we play our best game it’s hard for teams to win.” In Game 3, Tampa played one of its best games this postseason, getting major contributions from its usual suspects in the top line trio and Hedman and also a quantifiable (one goal from Stamkos) and unquantifiable lift from the return of its captain.
The top line of Palat, Point and Kucherov carried the day once again, combining for three goals and six points in Game 3, their second straight game with four-plus points. Point leads all players this postseason with 11 goals and with Palat and Hedman also reaching double-digit goals in Game 3, the trio make Tampa the first team in a decade to have three players with 10-plus goals in the same postseason.
Tyler Seguin has struggled mightily in the 2020 playoffs. The 28-year-old has now gone 12 consecutive games without a goal and has just one assist over that span (which was six games ago). His last goal came in Game 3 of the Second Round vs. Colorado
Along with Seguin, some of Dallas’ other forwards have been quiet recently as well:
▪ Jamie Benn: Zero points this series after ending West Final on a three-game goal streak
▪ Denis Gurianov: Zero points, three shots this series (OT goal and assist in series-clincher vs. Vegas)
▪ Alex Radulov: Zero goals, three assists this series
Tampa can become the first team in the NHL expansion era (1967-present) to win the Stanley Cup the season after being swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
WHAT: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Saturday, September 26, 8 p.m. ET
ON THE CALL: Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Brian Boucher
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Lightning-Stars stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (TB leads 3-1)
Stars 4, Lightning 1 (recap)
Lightning 3, Stars 2 (recap)
Lightning 5, Stars 2 (recap)
Lighting 5, Stars 4 [OT] (recap)
Game 5: Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
*Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
*Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
Curley: Conservative millennials wary about talking politics – Boston Herald
Stars’ Hintz, Bishop, Comeau and Faksa ‘unfit to play’ in Game 5 – Sportsnet.ca
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