After trailing by double-digits for most of the second half, the Hornets made their push in the fourth quarter and eventually had it down to 92-87 after a Marco Belinelli 3-pointer with 1:48 to play. Amir Johnson promptly took over from there with a monstrous dunk in traffic and then followed with two huge blocks in succession on David West and Emeka Okafor.
Carl Landry followed with a 3-point play to shave the Raptors' lead to four with 47 seconds to play, but Jose Calderon capped a potent performance with two free throws to keep the bugs at bay.
At the very least, this was Jose Calderon's best game of the season. He was spectacular on Tuesday with 22 points (7-10 FGM-A), 16 assists and seven rebounds. He was aggressive with his drive, knocked down three of his four 3-point attempts and as opposed to Sunday's loss to Dallas, stayed consistent throughout. The motivation? Just payback.
"I played really bad down there (in New Orleans) and got like no points, or something like that." said Calderon. "I wanted to be aggressive from the beginning, just hard work coming in and after I was just feeling more comfortable with the game going on so I just tried to do that."
How versatile is Amir Johnson? He's gone from a guy who led his team offensively on Sunday to a game-changer defensively in Tuesday's win. Johnson's shooting stroke was off (3-10 FGM-A) but he matched David West for game-high honours with 10 rebounds and tied a career-high with seven blocks.
"He had two at the end that were huge and I knew he was very active tonight," said head coach Jay Triano. "I thought his shooting wasn't what it normally is. He's usually a very high percentage shooter but defensively, he was as active as we've seen him."
"We kept reiterating with our team that any time he was in a screen and roll you don’t guard it with one guy you guard it with five guys. Guys have to be in on the weak side you have to force him and bate him into the cross court pass and then you have to close out under control on that. Jose (Calderon) did the initial job up-front of doing all the work but everyone has got to be responsible on the play."
- Jay Triano, on defending Hornets guard Chris Paul
Fri., Mar. 4 vs. Nets
7PM, Sportsnet, FAN590
It's London calling for the Raptors, as they now embark on a trip to England for the first regular-season games in league history in a back-to-back against the New Jersey Nets. The Nets have dropped six straight and eight of their last 10 games, but have seen great things from newly acquired franchise point guard Deron Williams -- who has averaged 14 points, 15.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds in three games as a Net.
|57||First-half points in two straight games for the Raptors|
|7||Consecutive games the Raptors have held opponents to under 50% shooting|
|4||Consecutive games the Raptors have scored at least 50 points in the paint|
|12||Consecutive games with at least 14 points for DeMar DeRozan|
|12-4||Fast break points favouring the Raptors|
|"He played amazing. He knew where to find everybody. He was knocking down his shot and that is what we need from him."|
- DeMar DeRozan on the performance of Jose Calderon
|"I thought the attitude starting this game and not having that sense of urgency, it hurt us tonight."|
- Hornets head coach Monty Williams on the loss
|"The big guys listened to the game plan well and they executed. That's exactly what we have to do if we want to grow as a team."|
- James Johnson, on the frontcourt defence