The Toronto Raptors should be well-rested and primed to continue their solid play at home when they take on the visiting Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. The Raptors had three full days off since capping a three-game road trip Saturday with a 34-point rout at Atlanta, which afforded coach Dwane Casey the opportunity to rest his starters down the stretch.
Reserves Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam both had a team-high 31 minutes and combined for 30 points on 13-of-22 shooting as Toronto matched its largest margin of victory this season. “The young guys came tonight and they were clicking,” Casey said of the bench. “They were playing together, screening for each other. The spacing was good. The passing was good.” The Hornets are coming off their most lopsided loss of the season, a 106-86 setback at home against San Antonio on Saturday. They are also going through a slow stretch of the schedule, as the visit to Toronto is one of just two games in a span of eight days.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Charlotte), Sportsnet One (Toronto)
ABOUT THE HORNETS (8-11): Kemba Walker scored 18 points on 8-of-12 from the floor against San Antonio, but his fellow starters were a combined 6-for-29 as the team was fatigued following a tight loss the night before in Cleveland. “Obviously it took a lot out of us,” coach Steve Clifford told reporters. “I played those guys huge minutes (in Cleveland). I thought to start the game tonight we had the right attitude. We had very little legs.” Dwight Howard notched his 11th double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) despite playing a season-low 22 minutes.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (12-7): DeMar DeRozan was held to two points in the win over Atlanta - snapping a string of 113 straight double-digit efforts - but he did hand out a season high-tying eight assists while still sitting out the entire fourth quarter. The three-time All-Star has seen his scoring average tumble more than four points this season but he is shooting 47.4 percent - his best mark since 2009-10 - and handing out a career-high 4.6 assists. DeRozan is averaging 25.6 points and 5.1 assists at home, compared to 21.4 and 4.3 on the road.
1. Walker scored 11 of his 19 points in the final five-plus minutes and Charlotte scored 44 points in the fourth quarter to steal a 110-106 win at Toronto in the last meeting on March 29.
2. Raptors PG Kyle Lowry recorded a career-high 13 rebounds versus Atlanta for his third straight double-digit showing in the category.
3. Howard needs 25 rebounds to pass Paul Silas (12,357) and move into 21st on the NBA’s all-time list, and 27 to get ahead of Dikembe Motombo for 20th.
PREDICTION: Raptors 110, Hornets 100