Raptors continue run of success vs. Pelicans
TORONTO — The New Orleans Pelicans were off to a good start away from home this season.
They won their three previous road games entering Thursday night, and they were 5-2 away from home overall, but they had to complete their four-game trip against the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors have had the Pelicans’ number in recent seasons, and the trend continued as DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points and added eight assists in Toronto’s 122-118 victory.
Toronto earned its fifth straight win over the Pelicans, winning for the 10th time in the past 12 meetings.
The Raptors (7-4) had to contend with the Pelicans’ two big men, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, and Toronto did it well enough.
“Those two guys over there in New Orleans are definitely a handful,” DeRozan said. “Our bigs did a great job. Every big man that went in there tonight tried to make everything difficult for them. They didn’t put up a monster game like they are accustomed to doing.”
Toronto forward Serge Ibaka added, “It’s not a two-person job. I think as a team we did a great job. It’s a five-person job.”
Cousins had 20 points and 15 assists, and Davis finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. That left Jrue Holiday to lead the New Orleans scoring; he had 34 points and 11 assists.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of Cousins and Davis, “Those two are a handful. And they also stretch the floor.”
“They did a pretty good on A.D.,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “They did a lot of double teaming and trapping the post and things like that. Not that we didn’t go to him or try to go to him, but Jrue had it going early, and we went to Jrue a lot.”
The Pelicans made 14 turnovers, leading to 19 Toronto points. The Raptors had a 19-4 advantage in second-chance points.
“You play to win, and we didn’t do the things necessary to do that,” Gentry said. “Our turnovers were up, we weren’t trying to do the right things when we made those turnovers.”
Ibaka added 19 points and eight rebounds for Toronto, while Kyle Lowry had 18 points and seven assists. Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas contributed seven points and 13 rebounds.
E’Twaun Moore added 13 points and Dante Cunningham had 11 for New Orleans (6-6) before he fouled out.
“I just missed a lot of shots,” said Davis, who was 6 of 14 from the floor. “I only had 14 shots, and when I don’t have my shot going, I try and create other ways to help the team.”
Cousins said, “Jrue just played incredible tonight. It sucks that we couldn’t give him the help he deserved tonight.”
After the teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 92, the Pelicans jumped ahead by four after slightly more than two minutes.
The Raptors pulled ahead by two with three minutes to play, and Ibaka’s 3-pointer boosted the lead to five with 2:06 left. The margin was trimmed to two with 46 seconds to go on Jameer Nelson’s driving layup.
DeRozan’s jumper got the lead to four, and the Pelicans turned the ball over with 20 seconds left. DeRozan made one of two free throws with 19.8 seconds left, and Toronto led by five.
The Raptors led by as many as 10 points before finishing the first quarter with a 34-32 advantage.
Holiday scored 14 points in the second quarter, and the Pelicans led by as many as three points in the first minute. The score was tied three times after that as the teams swapped leads until DeRozan’s buzzer-beater ended the first half with Toronto leading 66-60.
Toronto led by nine points after Norman Powell’s running layup with 7:39 left in the third quarter. Holiday gave the Pelicans a one-point lead on a running jumper with 4:38 to go in the quarter that ended tied at 92.
Tony Allen’s layup gave New Orleans a 98-94 lead with 9:42 to play in the fourth quarter.
Lowry put Toronto ahead by one point with a 3-pointer with 5:17 left. However, Holiday had the Pelicans on top by one with a two-foot layup with 4:15 to play. Lowry sank another 3-pointer to put Toronto up by two with 3:21 to go.
NOTES: Pelicans F DeMarcus Cousins was charged with a technical foul with 25.5 seconds to play in the second quarter shortly after being called for his third personal foul. He finished with four fouls. ... In two games against the Pelicans last season, Raptors C Jonas Valanciunas averaged 22.5 points and 12 rebounds. ... Pelicans C Alexis Ajinca (right knee), C Omer Asik (illness), F Solomon Hill (left hamstring tear), G Frank Jackson (fractured right foot) and G Rajon Rondo (left core muscle injury) remained out. ... The Raptors will visit the Boston Celtics on Sunday. The Pelicans will host the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.