Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)
Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka led the Raptors in the 1st quarter with two strong performances. JV put up 9 points and 3 rebounds, while Serge dropped 7 points and 3 blocks. DeMar DeRozan made his presence felt through his play-making as he notched 4 assists. Toronto played great defense throughout the quarter. Their only issue was guarding Kemba Walker. Kemba was able to score 5 points in the period. The Raptors led 26-21 after one.
Fred VanVleet was the spark-plug as he recorded 7 points. Delon Wright had a big 2nd quarter, dropping 5 points and 4 assists. With 5:52 remaining in the half, Pascal Siakam threw down a powerful dunk coming off of a fast break. Siakam outran Charlotte's Frank Kaminsky for the dunk. The Hornets out-rebounded Toronto 14-11 in the quarter, which was a huge edge that they were not able to take advantage of. The Raptors were ahead 52-43 over the Hornets.
The Raptors dominated the Hornets again coming out of halftime, led by Kyle Lowry and Valanciunas. The two combined for 14 points, which was nearly half of all points scored for Toronto in the quarter. At the 1:33 mark, Siakam showed his strength when he was fouled on a layup by Jeremy Lamb. Siakam nailed the layup and the free throw for the three-point play. The Raptors led the Hornets 82-69 heading into the final quarter.
Walker went off in the 4th quarter as he tried to bring Charlotte back into the game. Although he dropped 12 points in the quarter, it was too little too late for the Hornets. Lowry hit a couch step back three-pointer over Walker with about 4:18 remaining. That three-pointer shifted the momentum back over to Toronto. DeRozan iced the game with 8 points to seal the win. Toronto Raptors defeated the Charlotte Hornets 103-98.
Toronto had one of their greatest defensive games of the season as they held the Hornets to just 37.6% on FG's. Dwane Casey decided to go with Malcom Miller rather than the struggling Norman Powell in place of the injured OG Anunoby. This move suprised many, including myself. Norm's confidence is at an all-time low as a player, and getting benched yet again is not going to help. A smart move would be to send Norman down to the G-league for a game or two and let him destroy for the Raptors 905. This would definitely build his confidence back up and get him back to the level he was playing at last year.
DeMar DeRozan: 19pts, 4 rebounds, 8 assists
Kyle Lowry: 14pts, 10 rebounds, 5 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 18pts, 13 rebounds
Serge Ibaka: 17pts, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks
Fred VanVleet: 12pts, 3 assists, 3 rebounds
C.J. Miles: 12pts
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