The Raptors sweep the Hornets. Kyle Lowry delivers the dagger
|Toronto Star 16 Jan 2021 at 23:39|
The Raptors knew they were going to get a ton of three-point attempts on Saturday night. The Charlotte Hornets play a lot of zone defence that creates those opportunities.
And it was a long two-pointer that was the biggest bucket of the night.
Kyle Lowry made a step-back 18-footer with just over 30 seconds to go for the game-winning basket, allowing the Raptors to post a 116-113 win over Charlotte, their second in three nights in Tampa.
Toronto stayed in the game with some of their best three-point shooting of the season. Despite droughts to start the game and open the second half, the Raptors made 21 on the night.
Stanley Johnson’s great on-ball defence, with the Raptors up two and less than 20 seconds left, gave them the defensive stop they needed before Chris Boucher iced the game with two free throws.
Norm Powell, whose up and down play has been a matter of concern, came up with his best game of the season, knocking in six three-pointers as part of a 24-point night.
He and Boucher — who finished with 20 points — provided a much-needed boost off the bench.
Powell was particularly effective late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, when the Raptors broke out of a long stretch of lackadaisical play.
The teams wrapped up the first “series” on the Raptors’ schedule. There were minor adjustments made between the games, mostly subtle defensive moves, and for Raptors coach Nick Nurse that was the fun part of it.
“There’s nothing really not to like, in my opinion, especially since I’ve been through it a bunch (while coaching in the minor league),” he said before the game. “And I guess I do like trying to make the adjustments from the last game and take ’em right to the court and see if you can do it — see if your guys can execute it and can they keep the right mentality, even after a win.”
Gordon Hayward, who missed Thursday’s game with a hip injury, had 25 for the Hornets and Devonte’ Graham added 21.