Game Preview: Raptors vs. Hornets
Charlotte Hornets (28-35) @ Toronto Raptors (43-17)
When: Sunday, March 4, 6 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: TSN, SN590
The Raptors last faced the Hornets in Charlotte, where a 123-103 victory earned Dwane Casey his 300th win as Raptors head coach. DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points to lead the Raptors, while C.J. Miles added 24 and six players reached double figures for Toronto. The Raptors got off to a quick start in the game, and kept building, leading by four after the first quarter, seven at the half and 16 heading into the fourth thanks to an 18-2 run to start the second half. Toronto shot 56 percent from the floor and 47 percent from beyond the three-point line in the game. Kemba Walker scored 23 points to go with nine assists to lead the Hornets in the loss.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: OG Anunoby will be out of action for Toronto because of a right ankle sprain. Anunoby rolled the ankle in Toronto's victory against the Orlando Magic on Feb. 28. He did not play in Toronto's win in Washington on Friday. For the Hornets, Cody Zeller is day-to-day with left knee soreness. He did not play in Charlotte's loss to the Sixers on Friday.
Assist city: The Raptors had a franchise-high tying 16-game streak of recording at least 20 assists snapped in Friday's victory against the Washington Wizards. Toronto just missed out, recording 19 assists in the game. Despite the snapped streak, Toronto is 37-10 when recording 20+ assists this year, after having 34 games with 20+ assists last season.
Season series: This will be Toronto's final of four meetings against the Hornets this year. Charlotte comes to Toronto after dropping a 110-99 decision to the 76ers in Philadelphia on Friday and have lost two straight after the Celtics snapped a season-high five-game winning streak.The Raptors are 3-0 in the season series.
C.J. lets it fly: With the Raptors in need of an offensive boost in Washington on Friday night, C.J. Miles answered the call. Again and again and again. Miles scored 20 points off the bench in 20 minutes against the Wizards. He shot 7-for-10 from the floor and 6-for-9 from beyond the arc. It was his highest-scoring game since he scored 24 points in Toronto's last victory against the Hornets in Charlotte on Feb. 11.
FVV hive: Friday's game in Washington was a rare off-night from the floor for Fred VanVleet, who shot just 2-for-9, including 1-for-6 from the three-point line. Still, VanVleet found a way to impact the game in Toronto's favor, as always, playing 29 minutes and posting a team-best +20 as he finished with 12 points, four rebounds, three assists a steal and a blocked shot.
Taking care of the ball: The Raptors defeated the Wizards by seven points on Friday. While there was plenty the team could have cleaned up (missing 12 free throws, getting out-rebounded 47-32, including 15-8 on the offensive glass), one area the Raptors ran circles around the Wizards was taking care of the ball. Toronto turned the ball over just seven times in the game, compared to Washington's 18 miscues. In a seven-point victory, this translated to a 27-5 advantage of points off turnovers.