TORONTO: – Kyle Lowry scored 20 points and handed out 12 assists Wednesday to lead Toronto to a 105-89 NBA victory over Brooklyn that made the Raptors the first Eastern Conference team to 20 wins this season.
Patrick Patterson and Lou Williams contributed eight points apiece in the fourth quarter and Lowry scored six as the Raptors out-scored the Nets 29-16 in the final frame to pull away for their fourth straight win.
Toronto improved to 20-6 and have enjoyed three winning streaks of at least four games this season.
Mason Plumlee had 23 points to lead Brooklyn, Joe Johnson scored 17 and Mirza Teletovic added 14 in the first meeting between the Atlantic Division rivals since the Nets’ seven-game win in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
While the Raptors’ star remained on the rise, the Cleveland Cavaliers and superstar LeBron James endured an embarrassing 127-98 pounding at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks.
The Cavs, expected to be instant contenders in the East thanks to the return of James after four seasons in Miami, were out-scored 30-15 in the third quarter on their home floor as the Hawks avenged a lopsided loss to Cleveland earlier in the season.
Shelvin Mack came off the bench to hit six three-pointers and score 24 points for Atlanta who improved to 18-7, their best start since the 2009-10 season.
James had 21 points, Dion Waiters added 21 points off the bench and Kevin Love provided 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Cavaliers, who have dropped three of their last four games.
“I really don’t have too much to say,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said. “That was embarrassing how we played.”
Miami, whose efforts to rebuild in the wake of James’ departure have been hindered by a spate of injuries, endured another tough defeat, falling 105-87 to Utah.
Gordon Hayward scored 29 points with seven assists and six rebounds as the Jazz overcame a 42-point effort by Heat star Dwyane Wade.
Dante Exum, the Australian rookie who was the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft scored 10 points off the bench for Utah, following up a 12-point performance in a loss to New Orleans for his first back-to-back games in double figures.