The Toronto Raptors gave a thorough beatdown to the Charlotte Hornets 92-74. It seemed that there were three constants in the life of Raptors’ fans; death, taxes, and losses in Charlotte. The last time the Raptors franchise picked up a win in Jordan country was 2010 when their opponent wore Bobcat orange and the likes of Rasho Nesterovic and Hedo Turkoglu played for the team.
The Raptors never really let the Hornets, who were missing two of their key players in Al Jefferson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, get any life. The Raptors went into the half holding a 47-31 lead holding their opponents to a measly 31% from the field. They wouldn’t look back as they continued the efforts into the second half, earning the decisive victory. It’s easy to point to the fact that the Hornets were missing their best wing defender and low post presence, however the Raptors were also missing significant pieces themselves in Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson. What this game represented was the Raptors, a superior team taking care of business against an inferior opponent; something that they did regularly in their surging start.
In addition, with the Raptors win and the loss of the Chicago Bulls to the Orlando Magic the Raptors are back in third place in the Eastern Conference which would put them in a first round matchup with the young Milwaukee Bucks.
The Raptors didn’t shoot a sky high percentage from the field, putting up a modest 42.9% from the field. However against a team whose lone calling card is their stingy defence this was a respectable number. The Raptors also converted on 12-27 three point attempts gave the Raptors the much needed boost they needed to continually widen the gap.The most telling of the stats was the 20 assists the team racked up. There were many plays in which ball movement and making the extra pass helped the Raptors find wide open looks.
Playing a team devoid of any real offensive threats was exactly what the severely shaken Raptors team needed to get back on track. The team allowed only 74 points on only 34.6 shooting. The hope that Raptors fans have now is that this performance provided both a boost in confidence as well as a reminder of what can make them successful come playoff time, especially if they can draw the Bucks in the playoffs.
The Raptors beat the Hornets on the boards 47-35. While the teams were equal in offensive boards, they fended them off the offensive glass racking up 38 defensive boards. The team was led on the boards by Tyler Hansbrough with 12. Hansbrough has filed the shoes of the injured Johnson admirably, proving his worth with the toughness and hustle he was brought over from Indiana to provide.
Game ball: DeMar DeRozan
While it was very tempting to go with James Johnson based solely on his hair, the Raptors were led again by their all-star wing. DeRozan put up 18 points and showed a great command of the offence racking up seven dimes. DeRozan also showed up on the defensive end, blocking three shots.