Kyle Lowry was so fired up for a pre-season game that it got him ejected.
The veteran point guard was thrown out for a pair of technical fouls as the Toronto Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 118-91 on Wednesday.
Lowry now has three technicals in three exhibition games.
“He’s trying to get himself ready and, you know, his fire and his compete,” said first-year Toronto coach Nick Nurse. “I’d certainly much rather see him going out there fighting like heck than I would not caring about a pre-season game or sitting another one out.
“He’s going to fire and fight, that’s who he is, and we’re going to have to manage through that stuff and we love him for who he is.”
It was clear Lowry was playing with a short fuse.
After a pair of fouls against him in the first quarter, he made sure to let referee Mitchell Ervin know he disagreed with the calls.
Four minutes into the second, Lowry was called for an offensive foul. He put his hands to his face and tugged on his jersey in disbelief.
After a call by referee Karl Lane on teammate Pascal Siakam less than a minute later, Lowry followed Lane to the sideline as he argued the decision vehemently.
Lane gave Lowry a double technical, ejecting him from the game.
“Anybody with eyes could have seen the way that was going, from the first quarter on,” said fellow Raptors point guard Fred Van Vleet, who finished with 11 points. “I think he tried to get thrown out earlier. I think Mitch (Ervin) kind of ignored him a little bit and let him fuse himself out.”
Lowry’s ejection didn’t hurt the Raptors (3-1), who got better as the game went on.
While the teams were fairly even up until that point, Toronto started pulling away near the end of the third quarter. The Raptors went on a 16-2 run fuelled by a pair of Danny Green three-pointers.
Green finished the game with a team-high 22 points and three rebounds. He was 5-for-6 from beyond the arc.
It was more of the same in the fourth quarter, with Toronto outscoring Brooklyn 27-21.
Serge Ibaka chipped in 13 points and five rebounds for Toronto. Kawhi Leonard, making his third appearance in tune-up play, had 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Nurse could trot out the same starting lineup the first game of the regular season on Oct. 17 at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers as Wednesday, which included Leonard, Ibaka, Green, Lowry and OG Anunoby.
“We know our offence is good,” said Green, who came to Toronto with Leonard in an off-season trade for DeMar DeRozan.
“We can shoot, we can score, we can go up and down the court. That’s key in how we play – our pace. But defensively is where we’re going to be dangerous. It’s going to put us over the edge on those other teams.
“We have a lot of threats on this team. All it takes is for one player to get hot and we can be a dangerous team to deal with. We’re led by our two all-stars Kyle and Kawhi, but there are so many guys that can do just as much.”
Jarrett Allen led Brooklyn (1-2) with 24 points and six rebounds. D’Angelo Russell added 18 points and five rebounds while Caris LeVert had 13 points and five rebounds.
The game was played at Montreal’s Bell Centre as part of the NBA Canada series, which is in its sixth year. Toronto is 8-2 all time in the Canada series and 5-0 when playing an exhibition match in Montreal.
Montreal native Chris Boucher entered the game to a standing ovation with seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter. He finished with six points and a block.
Among the packed crowd at the Bell Centre were NBA legend Gary Payton, UFC star Georges St-Pierre and Montreal Canadiens Brendan Gallagher and Max Domi.
The Raptors play their final pre-season match Thursday in New Orleans.