Welcome to the 10 things recap by theScore features writer William Lou, which serves to highlight emerging trends from a Raptors perspective.
Character: The Raptors showed tremendous effort on the second night of a back-to-back to snap a six-game win streak for the Pacers. Toronto played with a frenetic tempo on offense, despite landing at 2:30 a.m. in the morning, and led start to finish against the Pacers - even with Kawhi Leonard resting on the third game in four nights.
Return: Kyle Lowry moved around gingerly and didn't fully exert himself after missing 10 of the last 11 games with a persistent back issue, and yet, he was still effective nonetheless. He played off the ball and drilled on a pair of threes, connected with Pascal Siakam in transition, and forced a handful of turnovers with his activity on defense.
Tough: Most players would take it easy in their return from injury, but that's not Lowry's style. He took a charge on Thaddeus Young just three minutes into the game, stepped in for another one in the third, and was knocked to the deck on a courageous baseline drive into Kyle O'Quinn in the fourth. Lowry is always going to give 100 percent, even if he isn't.
Steady: Even with Lowry back in the lineup, Fred VanVleet still handled the point and delivered yet another solid outing with eight assists. Lowry's absence allowed VanVleet to develop chemistry with the starters, as evidenced by VanVleet leading Serge Ibaka to the elbows on the pick-and-pop jumpers and with his kick-out passes to Danny Green.
Strong: Ibaka had fresh legs and delivered a rare gem playing on the second night of a back-to-back. He was money from the mid-range, drilled two threes courtesy of Lowry, and was a force on the inside, as he came out with two stellar blocks at the basket. Ibaka's play has been crucial in both wins over Indiana and Milwaukee.
Spark: Norman Powell bounced back from a miserable outing against the Bucks with a season-high 23 points off the bench on 10-of-12 shooting. He was decisive on his drives, he froze Kyle O'Quinn with a Eurostep before sinking a soft teardrop, he caused havoc in the passing lanes, and he was money from distance. Powell has been a massive upgrade over C.J. Miles over the past three weeks.
Revival: The second unit as a whole responded beautifully after totaling all of five points last night. Powell led the way with 23, while the likes of Delon Wright (10 points, six assists) and Greg Monroe (11 points, nine rebounds) chipped in to give the starters a much-needed breather.
Important: Nick Nurse called a pivotal timeout just 70 seconds into the second half after the Raptors came out sluggish and conceded a 5-0 run. Nurse ripped his team for losing their focus, and the Raptors promptly responded by closing the quarter on a 26-16 run.
Intriguing: Chris Boucher is always good for a pick-and-pop three in garbage time. He's like the new Bruno Caboclo, only Boucher might actually have a future in the league.
Rest: The Raptors finished a difficult week with victories over Milwaukee, Utah, and Indiana around that one disappointment against San Antonio. They'll take that result, and will finally have a relaxing week coming up as they play the Hawks on Tuesday and Nets on Friday.