Quick Reaction: Hornets 85, Raptors 90

The Delon Wright era begins

Charlotte 85 Final
Box Score
90 Toronto

D. Carroll39 MIN, 13 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 4-13 FG, 3-8 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 16 +/-

The problem with Carroll tonight wasn’t that he played bad, but that he cooled off significantly after a hot start. As always, he did little things like having active hands in passing lanes and had his motor on constantly.

Oh, and of course, he was part of the death lineup to close this one out.

D. DeRozan31 MIN, 10 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 5-19 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-2 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -15 +/-

My goodness, if MKG didn’t completely subdue him tonight. DeMar tried to diversify his offensive game tonight — even camped out behind the arc on a few occassions and went 0/3 from three — but he could barely breach the MKG roadblock.

Even the buckets he scored were all remarkable — extremely difficult and laborious. I imagine that things will get easier for him when Patterson and Ibaka unplug the lane; but the Raptors made their huge run in the fourth with DeMar on the bench.

J. Valanciunas20 MIN, 10 PTS, 11 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 4-6 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -5 +/-

He, um, only played 20 minutes in a game where the Hornets didn’t have any centers. In those minutes early on, he gave Kaminsky all he could handle with rebounds and put-backs, but the Raptors didn’t go to him much, and Casey opted to roll with Bebe (who played well), and then Poeltl (which worked out) to close this one out.

He could have had better hands in the post, but there really wasn’t anything particularly negative about JV’s game tonight.

K. Lowry41 MIN, 21 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 8-20 FG, 4-11 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

He got turnt real quick. A cold start was followed by a superstar fourth quarter where he hit contested threes and got to the rim. He also stopped the bleeding from Kemba in the fourth.

N. Powell28 MIN, 17 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 3 STL, 5-12 FG, 3-7 3FG, 4-6 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -17 +/-

After Lowry, he was the next scoring punch. He is so good at what he does — getting into the lane and getting defenders to collapse on him. My only criticism was that he missed a few open shots.

I’d say the Norm era is off the a pretty good start.

D. Wright28 MIN, 11 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 3-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 5-6 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 11 +/-

Dear me, we have a player on our hands. What a blessing. This game bore the fruit of Delon and I imagine we will partake in its glory for years to come.

Delon can defend, slash, pass, get to the rim — he’s a breath of fresh air. I even love his aesthetics.

Welcome to the death lineup, Delon.

C. Joseph25 MIN, 6 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 2-6 FG, 2-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 15 +/-

Back-to-back threes in the fourth was huge. I had a lot of fun watching the backcourt three-PG lineup. Ball-handlers, slashers, and good defense. CoJo did his part down the stretch.

L. Nogueira16 MIN, 0 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 3 BLK, 2 TO, -12 +/-

He provided some good minutes before the Poletl show got underway. Lots of chatter on Twitter with complaints about Bebe eating into JVs minutes, but I don’t have a problem with Bebe protecting the rim as well as he does. He only played 15 minutes anyway.

J. Poeltl12 MIN, 2 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 22 +/-

A team-high +22! All his minutes came in the fourth quarter. And though he has some wrinkles, he makes so many intelligent cuts and defensive plays. An unlikely hero tonight.

Dwane Casey

Ok, there’s a lot here.

Should he have given JV more touches to start this game? Probably — but to his credit, he had the Raptors going inside early and often to take advantage of Charlotte’s lack of rim protection.

Should he have rode the JV train longer and down the stretch? Probably, but, in hindsight — no. It took some extra cojones to roll out the Lowry / Joseph / Wright / Carroll / Poeltl line-up to close this one out, and my goodness did it work well.

Nice to see coach roll with smaller lineups. Carroll at the four makes sense in a game like this, and I’m just glad he didn’t bite on the JV/Bebe shared lineup tonight.

He did what he had to do. Even called a timeout 90 seconds in the third to stop the bloodbath that Charlotte was unleashing on a helpless Raptors team. In the end, his ballsy death lineup saved the day.

Things We Saw

  1. Bad shooting night overall. Lowry / DeMar / Norm / Carroll combined for 22-of-64 from the field. Some of this was down to really, really good defending by the Hornets in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and the rest was down to missing open looks. In retrospect, the Raptors should’ve had way more than 19 assists considering how many good looks they had with some really good ball movement.
  2. All that ball movement really was good. It did stop a bit when DeRozan handled it, but I really did enjoy a lot of offensive sequences tonight.

    The Raptors are still struggling, and this victory doesn’t necessarily mask it, but at least they are trying to get out of this slump the right way.

  3. Again, the biggest problem remains the inconsistency, and the extremity in the slumps and heat checks are staggering.

    The Raptors started this game on fire and finished it guns blazing. In between, they were outscored 55-27. The fourth quarter was ignited by a 24-2 run. None of this really makes sense.

  4. Key contributions from the Hornets came from MKG’s defense, Kemba hitting some impossible shots, and Frank freakin’ Kaminsky going off for a career-high 27 points.

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