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Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry drives between two Indiana Pacers during the first half of a game in Toronto, on Jan. 6, 2019.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Toronto’s All-Star point guard was back on the floor after missing 10 of Toronto’s last 11 games, as his team rolled to a 121-105 victory over the Indiana Pacers, snapping a six-game win streak for the third-place team in the Eastern Conference.

As he typically does this season on the second night of back-to-back games, Kawhi Leonard rested Sunday after scoring 30 points to help the Raps beat the Bucks in Milwaukee the night before, 123-116.

“Just resting him after a heavy week,” was the explanation from Toronto Coach Nick Nurse. “Think it's just the best thing to do.”

The Raptors had eight players score in double digits as they improved to 30-12. They were led by a season-high 23 from Norman Powell who headlines a bounce-back game from Toronto’s bench. Serge Ibaka contributed 18, and 15 came from Danny Green, who drilled five three pointers.

Lowry – who is second in the NBA in assists this season (9.8 per game) – dished out eight assists on his first night back and scored 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting in 32 minutes of play. It was the energy things that helped the most. He took charges, despite the healing back. He provided his signature vocal leadership. Even the antics in his his pre-game intro -- where he crawls through his teammates as they do situps and pushups to welcome him – added a spark.

“[The back] was pretty good. I had a couple things that made it a little sore. But it’s not gonna be something that just goes completely away. [I’ll] maintain it and stay on it and make sure that it stays as minimum as possible,” said Lowry afterward. “It’s always a big deal when you’ve got a guy out and you get everybody back, get me back, and everybody is happy to see you back. That makes you feel good, it makes you want to do a lot of things to give more of yourself for the team.”

The four-time All-Star had initially missed four games with a left thigh contusion, returned for a game Dec. 22 against the Philadelphia 76ers, but then sat out another six in a row with lower back pain.

He hit three of his first four shots Sunday night – the first a stunning deep three ball.

The Raptors started Fred Van Vleet alongside Lowry to begin the night. Lowry was the first to sub out in the first quarter – after a seven-minute shift. Lowry spent his brief first stint on the bench lying on his back on the floor using a heating pad.

Lowry was quickly back on the floor, playing a shift with four bench players. Perhaps it gave the unit a spark, a different look after their terrible performance in Milwaukee the previous night.

Toronto’s bench combo of Powell, OG Anunoby, Greg Monroe and Delon Wright had been a combined 1-for-15 for just five points against the Bucks, and all had negative-double-digits in plus-minus. It had taken a franchise-record 118 points from the starters that night to get the win. The bench was determined to be better Sunday.

The bench players had spoken among themselves after Saturday’s game, been critical, figured out their errors, and urged one another they had to be better Sunday.

“In Milwaukee, the bench production was pretty much non existent so tonight we talked about it; coming out setting the tone, bringing the energy and playing our game,” said Powell.

The bench contributed 52 points on Sunday, led by Powell, who shot 10-of 12, including 3-for-3 from deep.

Bojan Bogdanovic had 21 points to lead the Pacers, who had won 13 of their last 15, and now fall to 26-13. Indy star Victor Oladipo was held to 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting.

Toronto’s Lithuanian big man Jonas Valaniunas didn’t play on Lithuanian Heritage Night in Toronto, but Indy’s did. Domantas Sabonis had 16 points for the Pacers.

The Raptors come to the end of three games in four nights. Next up is visits from two other Eastern Conference opponents later this week: the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday and the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

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