Raptors sting Hornets
TORONTO—When Raptors’ coach Dwane Casey issued a challenge to his second unit during half time, the message wasn’t lost on John Lucas.
The back-up point guard scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as Toronto dumped the New Orleans Hornets 102-89 last night.
“We struggled a little bit in the first half where the second unit gave up a lead,” Casey noted.
“I challenged them about coming in and being ready to play, perform,” he added.
“You can’t play your starters 48 minutes, and they came in and performed in the second half.”
Alan Anderson added 11 off the bench as Toronto (19-32) won its second-straight to improve to .500 at the Air Canada Centre this season (13-13).
“He just called us out point-blank. Called us out and that’s what we needed, a wake-up call,” noted Lucas.
Lucas, who had just six points at halftime, added three in the third quarter before breaking out for 10 in the fourth to match a season-high.
Rudy Gay had a game-high 20 points while Kyle Lowry added 14 points and 10 assists—his fourth double-double of the season.
Gay, who came in averaging 24.3 points since his trade from Memphis, became the first Raptor to have five-straight games with 20-plus points since Andrea Bargnani last season.
“Our bench really picked us up,” said Gay.
“The first half they kind of relaxed and we gave away that lead,” he noted. “But the second half, they really picked us up and played well, and got us that win.”
Jonas Valanciunas, making his first start since missing 18 games with a broken finger, had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto.
Yesterday also marked the final meeting between the Raptors and the Hornets franchise, who will be called the Pelicans beginning next season.
Toronto also won their final game against the New Jersey Nets and Seattle Sonics before they changed their names.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Memphis beat Minnesota 105-88, the L.A. Clippers bounced New York 102-88, Miami upended the L.A. Lakers 107-97, Boston topped Denver 118-114 (3 OT), and Orlando trimmed Portland 110-104
Oklahoma City bombed Phoenix 97-69, San Antonio dumped Brooklyn 111-86, and Sacramento topped Houston 117-111.