By the mid-third quarter, it appeared as though the Raptors were going to suffer a lopsided loss at the hands of the Mavericks on Sunday, as a shorthanded Toronto squad had fallen behind by 30 points at home to the Luka Doncic-less Mavs — and trailed by 23 entering the fourth quarter.
The Raptors would not lay down, though, following the lead of Kyle Lowry, who had 32 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds in what became the largest comeback win in franchise history. Lowry had a huge fourth quarter, including his biggest bucket of the night on a deep three late in the fourth to give Toronto the lead in what became a tense, back-and-forth affair late.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 22, 2019
Along with Lowry’s performance, Chris Boucher and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came off the bench to give Toronto a huge lift, combining for 39 points and 16 rebounds. Boucher collected four blocks as the Raptors defense locked up the Mavs in the fourth quarter, outscoring Dallas 47-21 in the final frame, and put the Raptors ahead for good with a late dunk on a feed from Lowry as he cut to the hoop.
It’s a brutal loss for Dallas, as they look to keep things moving forward positively until Luka Doncic returns to the lineup — which reportedly could be soon. Jalen Brunson led the way to that 30-point lead, with 21 points and 9 assists in the primary ball-handling role, but Kristaps Porzingis’ struggles continue as he had just 16 on 5-of-15 shooting as he was unable to provide them with a steady hand when they needed one desperately late.
The Raptors improve to 21-8 with the win, while Dallas drops to 19-10 in the loss as they both are two of the most pleasant surprises of the young NBA season. Toronto gutting out a win without Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, or Marc Gasol in this type of manner is impressive, and the kind of thing that illustrates how hard an out the defending champs are going to be no matter their situation.