LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida, USA (AP) – Kyle Lowry limped off the court in the first quarter and the Toronto Raptors will undoubtedly need their point guard for the next round.
Not so on Sunday, when they simply delivered the best bench performance in NBA history.
Norman Powell scored 29 points, backup Serge Ibaka added 27 points and 15 boards, and the Raptors headed for the Eastern Conference semifinals by defeating the Brooklyn Nets 150-122 and completing a four-game sweep.
The Raptors received 100 points from their substitutes, the most in a game since official starters began to be tracked in the 1970-71 season, according to Elias. No bench had contributed more than 94 points in the regular season or 86 in the postseason.
“I think we just trust each and every one of us who comes out on the court and works on offense,” Powell stated. “I don’t think it really matters who is playing.”
The Raptors lost Lowry to a foot injury in the first quarter, but the defending NBA champions had more than enough depth and power to secure the first sweep in franchise history and set the stage for a clash with the Boston Celtics.
Boston, the No. 3 seed in the East, knocked out Philadelphia in four games. The series will begin on Thursday.
Pascal Siakam finished with 20 points and 10 assists for the Raptors, who improved their record to 11-1 in the bubble and made it clear that it won’t be easy to knock them down from the top of the NBA.