TORONTO, Jan. 15 (Ticker) --
The New Orleans Hornets were on the verge
of taking another step toward respectability. Then they lost
their floor general.
went down with a foot injury late in the third
quarter and the Toronto Raptors took advantage down the stretch,
recording a 102-99 triumph over the Hornets.
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Seeking their fourth win in five games, New Orleans (5-31)
comfortably was ahead, 70-61, when Davis was forced to the
sidelines after being kicked in his right Achilles tendon during
a scrum under his basket.
Davis went to the locker room for treatment on what was later described as a bruised right ankle, but it didn't
appear to matter as the Hornets pushed their lead to 93-83 with
5:03 to go. Then the Raptors rallied behind Jalen Rose
possessions became more and more crucial down the stretch, New
Orleans looked lost offensively without Davis.
Toronto (15-23) closed the contest with a 19-6 burst, sealing
the game in the final five seconds when Rafer Alston
free throws and blocked a potential game-tying 3-pointer by Dan Dickau
"It was great way to finish a game," Alston said. "We picked up
our intensity, Mo Pete (Morris Peterson
) and Jalen really carried us
with the scoring down the stretch. It was a good team effort
Davis had 15 points and 11 assists at the time of his injury.
"Well, obviously it hurt us," Hornets coach Byron Scott
"When Baron is in there, he's a guy who can penetrate and make
shots for other guys, that's his strength. You know he can make
big shots. When he's out you lose that element of your game,
which really hurt us in that last quarter."
"When Baron went down our momentum went down," Hornets forward
said. "He's an All-Star and when he plays great
everybody follows. He was going good and got kicked in his
Achilles and had to leave the game; after that we got
Peterson had his first double-double of the season with 25
points and 10 rebounds and Chris Bosh
added 24 and 10. Rose
made just 6-of-15 shots, but scored 11 of his 19 points in the
"I thought everybody did a great job in the second half and we
responded," Peterson said. "That just shows the character of
Nailon scored a career-high 32 points for New Orleans. Reserve
matched his career best with 17 points.
"When a player like Baron Davis
has a double-double in the first
half, he allowed the game to be so much easier for Lee Nailon,
Chris Andersen and P.J. Brown to get those open shots," Rose
said. "I think once he came out of the game that really gave us
an advantage, especially with our home crowd."
"We just fell apart," Andersen said. "It was tough not having
Baron but we should have stepped up and took the challenge. It was another tough ending."
Toronto is 13-5 at home this season with wins in eight of its
last nine contests at the Air Canada Centre.