A balanced offensive effort and some much-needed defence. That’s what it took for the Toronto Raptors to finally get the monkey off their backs in Charlotte, as they wiped out the Hornets 92-74 Wednesday night. It’s their first win in seven tries against the Hornets and their first win in the Hornets building since March 29, 2010.
In what’s become a space to be critical more than anything, it’s nice to give some positive shout-outs. DeMar DeRozan put together another dominant performance, leading all scorers with 18 points, then adding seven assists and three blocks(!!) for an amazing +29 mark. Tyler Hansbrough continued his ferocious play of late, getting 12 points and 12 rebounds for the double-double. Greivis Vasquez and Terrence Ross both had the long ball going, combining to go 7-for-11 from deep for 25 points.
Charlotte? Well, the struggle is real. Without Al Jefferson, their lack of inside presence forced a lot of jumpers early, as the scrambling Raptors defence actually clicked into place to make life tough. The Hornets responded by shooting a meager 31% in the first half. They didn’t pass 40 points until there was 4:36 left in the third, as Toronto led by as many as 29.
It was bad, especially for a team that’s still in the race for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. After this outing, though, the Hornets may simply be too far behind the competition between Boston, Brooklyn, Miami, and Indiana.
Credit, though, to the Toronto Raptors for rising to the occasion and following through to put another notch in the win column. With the Bulls loss to Orlando tonight, they’re once again in the East’s third seed with four more games against losing opponents.
Night to night, it’s hard to read what the Raptors will do. Their seeding destiny is still in their hands, though, and that’s a comforting thought as we head into the last week of the regular season.
What were your thoughts on this one?