DeRozan scores 19 points, Raptors beat Hornets 103-98
TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 6: The Toronto Raptors huddle before the game against the Boston Celtics on February 6, 2018 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Ian Harrison, Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 13 rebounds and the Raptors beat the Charlotte Hornets 103-98 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time), Toronto's 11th win in 12 games.
Serge Ibaka scored 17 points and Kyle Lowry had 14 as the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors completed their first season sweep of Charlotte since 2006-07. Both DeRozan and Lowry made key three-pointers down the stretch as Toronto improved to 26-5 at Air Canada Centre, the best home record in the NBA.
Fred VanVleet and C.J. Miles each scored 12 points for the Raptors, who have won four straight since an overtime loss to Milwaukee on Feb. 23 (Feb. 24, PHL time).
Kemba Walker scored 27 points and Dwight Howard had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who lost their third straight, all on the road. Charlotte is 10-21 away from home.
Jeremy Lamb scored 16 points, Frank Kaminsky had 15 and Nicolas Batum added 10.
Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored the game's opening basket but the Hornets never led again.
The Hornets cut the deficit to two, 88-86, on a three-point play by Lamb with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter. Lowry answered with a 3 for Toronto and, after Walker split a pair at the line, DeRozan added a corner triple, giving Toronto a 93-87 lead with 3:22 remaining.
This was the first time in four meetings with Charlotte this season that the Raptors failed to score at least 120 points.
Hornets: F-C Cody Zeller returned after missing the previous two games because of a sore left knee. He fouled out with six points. ... G-F Dwayne Bacon missed the game with an illness. ... Michael Carter-Williams returned in the third quarter after suffering a sprained left shoulder in the second.
Raptors: F OG Anunoby (sprained right ankle) missed his second straight game. "It's not going to be a long-term thing," coach Dwane Casey said of Anunoby's injury. Malcolm Miller made his first career start.
Hornets: Host the 76ers on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Charlotte lost at Philadelphia last Friday (last Saturday, PHL time), their first meeting of the season. The teams play three more times before April 2 (April 3, PHL time).
Raptors: Host Atlanta on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Toronto has won its past three meetings with the Hawks.