The Hornets came out clearly energized by the time off. They played pretty offensive basketball, pinging the ball all around the floor. Defensively, they generated steals on their first two defensive possessions. There was some unsurprising sloppiness throughout the first quarter—the Hornets turned the ball over six times, but the intentions were good. Meanwhile they held the Raptors to just 19 first quarter points with eight turnovers, They lead 28-19 after one.
Fred VanVleet canned the Raptors first two triples of the game to get the second quarter going for the visitors, but the Hornets responded with an offensive eruption. They scored 17 points in the first 3:43 of the quarter as they got out in transition off Raptors turnovers and misses. That included a 10-0 run over a span of just one minute and 17 seconds. PJ Washington was a big catalyst for the run with a couple of 3-pointers and a big dunk off a sticky handed steal he had on the other end of the floor. The Raptors got a little run out of Scottie Barnes, but the Hornets were too much to handle for the Raptors offensively. They scored 42 points in the quarter and went in the half up 70-47.
The third quarter started a little clunkier than the first two, but we got this gem.
Plumlee had a huge one handed jam off a lob from LaMelo Ball next time down the floor. It was the early part of a 21-0 Hornets run that put them up by 41. The jumpers were falling, the ball was moving, and the defense was stifling. It was beautiful basketball to watch. The play returned to its previous, clunky state to end the quarter, at which point the Hornets led 97-61.
The Raptors broke out the full court press to start the fourth quarter. The Hornets took a few possessions to find their footing against it, but they got over it before too long. They struggled to keep the Raptors off the free throw line and the glass and probably took their foot off the gas quite a bit. No big deal though. They got enough offense to counter the wavering defense. Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges put the early exclamation point on the night with this highlight.
Every Hornet played well, and we don’t need to take this space to just list off the box score stats of the entire team. The Hornets got 17 steals and blocks and got out and ran all night. The Hornets are going to make some noise if they can carry this with them through the end of the season. They’ll try to keep it going against the Pistons on Sunday.