Miles Bridges led Charlotte with 25 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Terry Rozier had 20 points, five rebounds and six assists. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. LaMelo Ball finished with 15 points, four rebounds, nine assists and four steals in 44 minutes. PJ Washington registered 15 points and nine rebounds.
Pascal Siakam put up 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Toronto. Gary Trent Jr. also scored 24 points. OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet each posted 20 points, with Anunoby adding nine rebounds and three steals. Scottie Barnes totaled 15 points and eight boards.
Bridges opened the scoring with Siakam finishing a putback to get the Raptors on the board. Ball, newly-minted NBA All-Star, banked in a reverse lay-in for his first bucket. Barnes picked up two fouls in the first three minutes, and Rozier’s mid-range jumper tied the game, 7-7 off the ensuing inbound.
Gordon Hayward suffered a left ankle sprain and was ruled out for the game with the Hornets down, 21-15. The Raptors were getting uncontested looks from three and Siakam got into the lane whenever he wanted. Toronto led, 35-21 after one.
CLEAR THE RUNWAY!— Bally Sports: Hornets (@HornetsOnBally) February 8, 2022
SKYYY MILES IS READY FOR TAKEOFF! pic.twitter.com/ImhKOTf1nv
The Raptors carried a 27-8 run from the first to the second, and the Hornets dug themselves a 44-23 hole with some mistake-laden basketball. Offensively, things started to look a lot better — until the ball hit the rim. Charlotte couldn’t buy a bucket, especially from deep (2-16 in the first half). Washington had a sweet drop-off dime and the Hornets closed the second on a 12-4 run, but the Raptors took a 56-41 lead into the locker room.
The Hornets opened the second half on a 9-1 run capped off by Ball catching a lob from Rozier to cut the deficit to seven, 57-50 after trailing by 23 in the first half. Toronto continued to knock down the uncontested jumpers the Hornets defense had been conceding all game to stretch their lead out to 14. Rozier went on a heater to close out the third, scoring 13 points and bringing Charlotte within three. Toronto led 80-75 heading into the fourth.
Rozier and Washington both missed open threes to start the final frame. The Raptors outscored the Hornets 9-3 in the first four minutes to open a double-digit lead, and VanVleet’s deep triple made it 92-80 with 6:50 to play. James Borrego busted out a desperation zone mid-quarter but it just resulted in more open looks from downtown. The Raptors did what they had to do to keep the Hornets at bay down the stretch. Charlotte finished the game shooting 39-95 (42.3 percent) from the field and 9-40 (15.8 percent) from three-point range. Toronto finished 41-84 (47.7 percent) from the field and 15-35 (38.9 percent) from deep.
My takeaways from this game; Hornets are a jump shooting team and every jump shooting team goes through slumps, they’re in the throes of it right now; Siakam has gotten way better as an offensive initiator; solid all-around game from PJ; it might be time to give Kai Jones a whirl here soon, just for fun; MELO ALL-STAR!! apart from some turnovers he played well on both ends tonight; why does the injury bug always bite the Hornets late in the season? Rest up, G.