SPORTS

Raptors open with franchise-worst quarter en route to blowout by Warriors

02/27/2015 10:01 EST | Updated 04/29/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - On a night that Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey called a "good old-fashioned wood shed butt-kicking," the highlight may well have been a third-quarter fist fight.

The Raptors left little else to cheer for.

The Raptors couldn't overcome a franchise-worst first quarter on the way to a 113-89 rout by the Golden State Warriors on Friday, in what will go down as perhaps one of their worst performances in team history.

"There are no excuses for that type of performance," Casey said. "Most of it was them, and the other part was us. It was one of those old-fashioned butt-whoopings that (went) from start to finish."

Terrence Ross led the way with 18 points for Toronto (37-21), while DeMar DeRozan added 14.

But DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were a combined 5-for-23 shooting just a day after the two Raptors stars referred to their recent play as "trash." Lou Williams, with 12 points, was the only other Raptor in double figures. Lowry finished the game with just 18 minutes of court time.

Tyler Hansbrough was ejected with five seconds left in the third quarter when he lunged at Golden State's Festus Ezeli with fists flying. Video review showed Ezeli shoving Hansbrough in the face first after the two tangled under the basket, and the Warriors centre was also ejected.

"I love it," Casey said of Hansbrough's reaction. "I don't want to see a guy get in a fight, but I was glad to see somebody ready to hit somebody. That was a positive. We get 13, 14 other guys to have that kind of fight and fire and passion, we'll go with that."

Playing their first game at home since Feb. 11, the Raptors scored just one field goal in the opening frame — courtesy of James Johnson — and their 5.3 (1-for-19) shooting percentage was a team low for a quarter. No NBA team had shot worse for a quarter since New Orleans (4.8) in December of 2010.

"Was it? Surprises me," Lowry said, when informed of the record. "We just missed shots, man. Honestly. I had a couple open shots and missed them."

The night didn't progress any better, and when Klay Thompson drilled three consecutive three-pointers to open the third quarter, a fuming Casey yanked all five starters off the floor in a mass substitution.

The personnel change made no difference, as the Raptors would trail by 41 points several times late in the third quarter.

The fight, however, brought the fans back to life, as the capacity Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,800 erupted in chants of "Let's go Raptors!" as Hansbrough was ushered off the floor.

Fans half-heartedly cheered a Jonas Valanciunas dunk that pulled Toronto to within 30 points midway through the fourth quarter, but most of them were well on their way out the door by the final buzzer.

When asked how the team gets past such a loss, Lowry replied "Start making the game fun again and just going out there and playing and executing the game plan.

"Basketball's fun in general (but) when you're losing it just kind of sucks the life out of you a little bit. The love of the game is always going to be there. Just got to find a way to make the love and passion get back out there."

Thompson had 25 points for the Warriors (45-11), while Steph Curry, who grew up in Toronto while his dad Dell played for the Raptors, added 22.

"I love coming here," Curry said. "Besides my childhood, this is my second home. My dad spent three good years here and we have a lot of good memories living down on Lakeshore and playing all across the province. Just a lot of great memories and it definitely feels great to come back."

The Raptors, who were back home after going 1-3 on their road trip, trailed the Warriors by scores of 27-11 at the end of the first, and 54-31 at halftime.

The Raptors shot 40 per cent on the night, because of their fourth quarter that saw them outscore Golden State 32-15. The Warriors shot 48 per cent.

The Warriors were playing their third game in four days, and were coming off a 110-99 loss to Cleveland the previous night.

The Raptors are in New York on Saturday and Philadelphia on Monday before returning home to host Cleveland on Wednesday.

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