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Recap: LaMelo Ball scores 32 but Hornets lose to Raptors again, 124-114

The Hornets shot the ball well but couldn’t overcome turnovers and sloppy play.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

LaMelo Ball had 32 points and seven assists, but the Charlotte Hornets couldn’t overcome 22 team turnovers as they dropped their second straight game to the Toronto Raptors, 124-114.

The Raptors brought their offense from Tuesday night got off to a scorching start. The Hornets...not so much. The Raptors took a 21-8 lead in the first half of the first quarter before PJ Washington hit a pair of threes to narrow the deficit. The Raptors shot 71.4% from the field from the first to build a double digit lead despite some decent offensive output from the Hornets. Nick Richards got minutes for Mark Williams in the first quarter and scored five early points. He hit a free throw to cut the deficit to nine heading into the second quarter.

LaMelo Ball found Nick Richards on an alley oop to open the second quarter scoring, but the Raptors answered with Scottie Barnes’ fourth dunk of the game. Sloppy play from the Hornets on both ends helped the Raptors build their lead up to 19 points. Ball scored eight straight to draw the Hornets closer, but the Raptors responded with their own run to restore the lead. The teams yo-yoed like that one more time and the half ended with the Raptors up by 14. The Hornets allowed the Raptors to shoot 59.5% from the field in the half.

The teams traded baskets for the opening stages with Terry Rozier and Mason Plumlee taking center stage for the Hornets. Rozier hit some trademark tough shots while Plumlee cleaned up on the glass and had a couple of unorthodox baskets of his own. Cody Martin hit a 3-pointer and converted a 3-point play near the end of the third quarter. Those buckets along with Rozier’s 14 point quarter helped pull the Hornets within single digits heading into the fourth quarter.

A deep three and driving layup from Ball set the Hornets up for a chance at a fourth quarter offense, but the offense dried up after that. The Hornets went two minutes without a point, which prevented them from making a run while the Raptors struggled to score on the other end. They turned the ball over eight times in the quarter, and a number of them were simply careless decisions with the ball. Back to back turnovers from Plumlee and Ball led to four Raptors points that put them up 12 with under four minutes to play and effectively put the game out of reach. A wild pinball possession led to a Mason Plumlee and-1 to pull the Hornets within five, but Ball smoked a layup on the next possession to make it a one possession game. Fred VanVleet made a heavily contested dagger from the corner on the other end of the floor. The free throw game fluffed the score and set the final margin.

LaMelo Ball fouled out, but the final three of those fouls came in the final 40 seconds with the Hornets trying to get the ball back with the game essentially out of reach. He otherwise had a pretty strong performance outside of that missed chip shot at the end.

Terry Rozier wrapped up a strong road trip with 21 points on very effiecient shooting. Mason Plumlee did the same with his fifth double double in his last seven games.

The Hornets shot the ball really well but did themselves in with self inflicted wounds. They turned the ball over 22 times and converted just 70% of their free throws. They struggled to contain the Raptors inside, but that almost felt like a secondary issue to the sloppiness the Hornets played with.

The Hornets will head home for another two game series, this time against the Eastern Conference leading Boston Celtics. Those games will come on Saturday and Monday.