Valančiūnas’ absence gave his replacement, Bismack Biyombo, an opportunity to step up that he took gladly, making 17 points, 16 rebounds, two blocks and an assist over 41 minutes of play.
The true stars of the show, however, were Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Lowry scored 35 points in 42 minutes after taking over from DeRozan, who was top scorer for the first half.
Raptors teammate Patrick Patterson shared some moments from his motivating pre-game speech: “I just make a speech before every game. This time it was all about our satisfaction. I had one question for everybody: are we satisfied with what we’ve done individually and what we’ve done collectively as a team, how far we’ve come? Do we want more? Do we want to go even further? Do we want to make history? Do we want to keep playing or do we want to go home? Hopefully that was positive energy for my teammates.”