You’re gonna wanna sit down before you read this — pardon my French, but the Hornets got off to a slow start in the first quarter.
You might be getting sick of reading it, but it’s the truth and it’s my solemn promise to deliver the truth and nothing but the truth. Toronto went up 7-0 before Devonte’ Graham hit a three for Charlotte’s first points nearly three minutes into the game. Cody Zeller made another three (is it a surprise anymore? Or is it just a fact of life that Cody can make threes?), Terry Rozier got into foul trouble again and sat with two fouls and 3:11 remaining, before the Hornets did Hornets things and stormed back to a one-point deficit off the strength of a 7-0 run.
PJ Washington from the corner is straight cash every day of the week and twice on Sundays. He gave the Hornets a 32-31 lead with 9:22 left in the second quarter, and in typical Hornets fashion, they turned the ball over for the seventh time on the following possession.
Marvin Williams had perhaps his best quarter of the season, leaving his mark in every aspect. He made great passes within the offense and off the attack, didn’t miss a shot, played formidable defense on Pascal Siakam (no small task), and was a presence on the glass, an area that was dominated by Toronto. 14 points and four boards in 15 minutes for the vet.
The Raptors didn’t shoot particularly well at any point in the first half, but took 50 shots to the Hornets’ 39, grabbed eight offensive boards, and were aided by 11 Charlotte turnovers. They went into the locker room down 60-56 after a back-and-forth, scrappy end to the half.
The Hornets have opened the second half pretty strong as of late, but to be frank, this third quarter was not good at all. Two turnovers in the first two-and-a-half minutes contributed to a 20-8 Toronto run over the first 5:20 of the second half. James Borrego called a timeout to no avail, and the Hornets quickly fell behind by 20 in a game that seemed winnable just a few minutes prior. The Raptors hustled for rebounds and loose balls and finally started hitting their threes after a sub-par first half from behind the line. With 2:53 left in the third frame, OG Anunoby hit his fourth three of the game to give the Raptors a 90-69 lead. Things truly hit the fan once Toronto blew the game open, and the Hornets limped to the end of the third after a lengthy coach’s challenge delay and found themselves down 92-74.
Biz got the final frame started with a beautiful reverse lay-in. Dwayne Bacon got playing time after receiving a DNP-CD against the Knicks coming off of right knee soreness, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Willy Hernangomez got some run, and the Hornets fell behind by 38 at one point to reach their largest deficit of the year; it was the epitome garbage time. The game ended with a final score of 132-96, but the players decided to end it about halfway through the third quarter.
Shout out to Biz and Marvin for each playing a really good game in spite of the second-half drubbing. I thought Devonte’ was effective as a passer rather than a scorer tonight, which was a good chance of pace for him. The Hornets got blown out by a good team and played a half of lazy basketball for the first time all season. The Raptors also got a lot of production from role players like Chris Boucher, Terence Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Anunoby, etc. It wasn’t like Siakam destroyed them all night and they didn’t have an answer for it. Losing by a lot stinks, but so does losing by a little. I can live with this.