Game Rap: Huskies 90, Hornets 85
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
DeMarre Carroll hit a three-pointer to put the Raptors ahead by five with 7.4 seconds remaining. The three capped off a 32-10 fourth quarter for Toronto who came back from 17 down to defeat the Hornets 90-85 for a win going into the All-Star Break.
Serge Ibaka spent his first day in Toronto one day after the Raptors acquired him from the Orlando Magic in exchange for Terrence Ross and a future first-round pick. Ibaka did not suit up for the team after a busy day going through his physical and meeting with the coaching staff, but he met with media before the game and said he’s excited for the opportunity given to him in Toronto.
“I have an opportunity to play for a great team, a great organization and great city so I'm very excited,” Ibaka said.
“A team like this, I'm just going to try to bring my experience and my defensive game, my toughness, my energy. Because when you have guys like Kyle [Lowry] and DeMar [DeRozan] you don't need an offensive, scoring guy really, you need a guy who can bring some physicality and defensive plays, energy, running up and down. Those are the things I'm really going to bring.”
Toronto got off to a solid start on Wednesday, shooting 53 percent in the first quarter as they outscored Charlotte 31-20 after the opening 12 minutes. The Hornets shot 40 percent in the quarter and were led by Frank Kaminsky’s seven points. Jonas Valanciunas had a 10-point quarter for Toronto and Kyle Lowry added eight points and four assists.
FLIP-FLOP SECOND QUARTER
Things flipped for Toronto in the second quarter when their offence went ice cold. Luckily, the Hornets weren’t lighting it up either, scoring just 21 points on 38 percent shooting. The Raptors connected on just 5-of-19 field goals in the quarter, shooting 26 percent. Kemba Walker had 12 points in the quarter to get the Hornets within three at the half.
THIRD QUARTER COLLAPSE
Things went from bad to worse for Toronto in the third. After shooting just 26 percent in the second quarter, the Raptors went 5-for-20 in the third, shooting 25 percent. Unlike the second quarter, Charlotte did not struggle to score, putting up a 34-point quarter, making a red-hot 13-for-17 field goals, shooting 77 percent from the floor. With Toronto trailing by three at the midway point of the quarter, the Hornets reeled off a 21-8 run to close the third, taking their largest lead of the game at 17 points.
AN INSPIRED FOURTH
With his team trailing by 17 to open the final quarter, Dwane Casey went with a new-look lineup to start the fourth. Kyle Lowry and DeMarre Carroll were the only starters to play in the fourth, joining Delon Wright, Cory Joseph and rookie Jakob Poeltl. The lineup played with a renewed energy and intensity on both ends of the floor and wasted little time erasing Charlotte’s lead. Toronto opened the fourth on a 24-2 run to turn a 17-point deficit into a five-point lead with 3:45 remaining. Casey was so pleased with the lineup’s production, he stayed with the group for the duration of the quarter. The Raptors outscored Charlotte 32-10 in the fourth to complete the comeback win on their home floor.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kyle Lowry scored a team-high 21 points in 41 minutes. He shot 8-for-20 from the floor, 4-for-11 from beyond the the arc and 1-for-1 from the free throw line. He had six rebounds, six assists and a steal
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Delon Wright had 11 points in 28 minutes off the bench. He shot 3-for-5 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Wright added a rebound a block and two assists while playing the entire fourth quarter. Jakob Poeltl played the entire fourth, scoring two points to go with six rebounds and two assists. Despite modest stats, the Raptors were a +22 when Poeltl was on the floor.
THAT'S A RAP…
“I think Delon, Jakob, DeMarre and Cory came in and just said forget it, we’re down and all we can do is go play basketball. Those guys did a great job at just playing basketball, scrambling and being aggressive.”
- Kyle Lowry on a huge fourth quarter effort
BY THE #’S
46…Rebounds for the Raptors, 44 for the Hornets.
34…Points in the paint for Toronto, 26 for Charlotte.
17…Fast break points for the Raptors, four for the Hornets.
11…Rebounds, 10 points, an assist and a steal for Jonas Valanciunas in 20 minutes of action.
THEY SAID IT…
“Coach [Patrick] Mutombo and coach Jama [Mahlalela] did a great job of keeping that kid ready, keeping Delon ready, keeping Jakob ready. We went to the fountain of youth and those guys came through and played their behinds off. Delon is going to be a good player in this league. Unfortunately he’s playing behind an All-Star in Kyle [Lowry], but there are some minutes to be had by him. His size and length helps the blitzing problem and playing under control. The 905 is a huge asset for us. Being able to go down there, play and stay ready, all our guys have taken advantage of that and it is a huge asset for us.”
- Dwane Casey on young guys like Delon Wright and Jakob Poeltl having an impact on the game
“I’ve been out for a couple of months. I just wanted to try to bring some energy to the team. We all buckled down in the second half and got it done.”
- Delon Wright after a big fourth quarter
“He came through big. For him to go out and handle the ball for the majority of the fourth quarter, that's big. It just shows the hard work he put in. Especially for me, I've known him since he was a kid, since he was a baby.”
- DeMar DeRozan on Delon Wright
Up next: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will head to New Orleans to represent the Raptors in the 2017 NBA All-Star game. The rest of the team will get a weekend off during All-Star break before meeting up next week for practice in preparation for their game against the Boston Celtics on Friday, Feb. 24 at the Air Canada Centre at 7:30 P.M. ET.