Hornets Head Back to Charlotte after Loss in Toronto
Charlotte’s 4th-Quarter Surge Not Enough to Take Down East’s Best
By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com
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Kemba Walker scored a game-high 27 points and Jeremy Lamb (16) and Frank Kaminsky (15) combined for 31 points off the bench but it wasn’t enough to get the Hornets a win in the final game of their three-game road trip as they fell 103-98 on Sunday in Toronto.
Following Jeremy Lamb’s amazing defense-to-offense play midway through the fourth quarter to bring Charlotte to within 88-86 on the strength of a 12-3 run, Charlotte had the Eastern Conference leaders on the ropes on their home court. But on Toronto’s ensuing possession, Kyle Lowry drained a contested three by Kemba Walker to push the lead to 91-86. After Walker hit on one of two free throws, it was the second member of the Raptors all-star backcourt to step up as DeMar DeRozan drained a three from the right side to extend the advantage to 94-87. After misses by Walker and Nic Batum, DeRozan took control again, this time slicing through the Hornets defense down the lane and converting the and-one to make it a 10-point advantage with 1:56 remaining and putting the game out of reach.
Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Kemba Walker gear here)
Kemba Walker scored a game-high 27 points on 8-of-23 shooting from the field, including 3-of-12 shooting from outside the arc. This is Walker’s 41st game with 20+ points and his 48th game with multiple made three-point field goals this season. Kemba also added six rebounds, four assists and a steal in 39 minutes.
Raptors Player of the Game
Jonas Valanciunas was a force both inside and outside for the Raptors, scoring 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from outside the arc, while also completing the double-double by bringing down a game-high 13 rebounds and blocking two shots.
Jeremy Lamb led all reserves with 16 points and added two assists, one rebound, one steal and one blocked shot… Dwight Howard recorded a double-double, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds… Frank Kaminsky recorded his season-best, sixth-straight double-digit scoring performance with 15 points off the bench to go with four rebounds and a steal… Nic Batum scored 10 points to go with eight assists and six rebounds. Batum now has a career-high eight-straight games with 7+ assists. It is the longest streak by a Charlotte player since Feb. 24-March 13, 2009 (Raymond Felton, 9 games). Batum also swiped one steal and has now recorded a steal in 11-straight games, matching the longest streak in his NBA career (Jan. 20-Feb. 8, 2014 and Nov. 8-Dec. 7, 2014)… The Raptors outshot the Hornets 42.2 percent (35-of-83) to 37.6 percent (32-of-85) from the field and 29.3 percent (12-of-41) to 23.8 percent (5-of-21) from outside the arc… The Raptors are a league-best 26-5 on their home court.
Quote of the Night
“(In the) fourth quarter it was purpose of play on both ends of the floor. We had purposeful offense, smart play and very good defense. Like I told them (in the locker room), if we are serious about making a run here, that’s what we’re capable of.” – Head Coach Steve Clifford on his team’s effort in the fourth quarter