NBA

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Raptors show some defensive mettle in win

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NEW ORLEANS (AP)

The Toronto Raptors were hot from 3-point range in the second half against the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night. All they wanted to talk about, though, was their blue-collar defense. After giving up 115 points to Memphis and 125 to Orlando in recent losses, the Raptors held the Hornets to 14 points in the third quarter in a 107-90 victory. Chris Bosh scored 27 points for the Raptors, who used a 27-4 run in the third quarter to take control and improve to 3-0 when holding opponents under 100 points. The Raptors trailed 56-51 early in the third quarter before hitting a barrage of open 3-pointers to put the game away. Bosh's 3 gave them the lead for good, 57-56, and Hedo Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani both hit three 3s in the next 7 minutes as Toronto went ahead 81-63. "It really started on defense," Turkoglu said. "We got stops and rebounds. We?ve been great offensively since they built the team, but we were helping each other on defense tonight." Turkoglu and Jose Calderon both had 16 points for Toronto, while Bargnani added 14. Chris Paul led New Orleans with 21 points and a season-high 18 assists, but he did not score in the third quarter, when the Raptors hit more 3-pointers (8) than the Hornets had field goals (6). "Our focus tonight was on Chris Paul," Toronto coach Jay Triano said. "Any time he gave it up for the most part our guys had a hand in his face. He had to work for everything he got." Bobby Brown added 16 points and David West had 14 for New Orleans. The Hornets (2-4), who are below .500 after six games for the first time since 2005-06, trailed 83-65 at the end of the third quarter and heard some boos as they walked to the bench. The Hornets started the second half with a 3-pointer from Morris Peterson and a dunk by Emeka Okafor to go ahead 56-51, but it was all downhill from there. Bosh hit all nine of his shots, mostly from inside, and the Raptors were almost as proficient from the 3-point line in the second half. After connecting on only 3 of 11 3s in the first half, they made 11 of 18 after the break. Their eight 3s in the third were a franchise record for any quarter.
"Out of the eight 3-pointers made, I saw us contend two," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "I saw a lack of energy. For the life of me, I can?t understand why we came out without any energy." Toronto led 83-65 after its 34-point third quarter and stretched the lead to 98-73 as the Hornets never made a run. Midway through the fourth quarter, the New Orleans Arena was more than half-empty. "We are feeling more comfortable with each other each game," said Turkoglu, in his first year with the Raptors after helping Orlando reach the NBA finals last season. "We know where everybody wants to get the ball." Neither team led by more than seven points before Toronto?s decisive spurt. The first half was the "Paul and Bosh Show" as two of the NBA?s five leading scorers went back and forth. Paul hit 6 of 8 shots, scored 17 points and had 10 assists. Bosh went 5 for 5 from the field and 6 of 7 from the line, leading Toronto with 16 points. Paul scored seven points in less than 2 minutes as the Hornets went ahead 33-26. Bosh responded with eight quick points to give the Raptors a 46-43 lead. The second half was a different story. With the threat of Bosh inside, the Hornets repeatedly failed to close out on the Raptors? 3-point shooters. Bargnani had a game-high nine rebounds, but the Hornets did not have much chance to grab defensive rebounds as shot after shot fell for the Raptors in the second half. "Bosh got rolling, and we didn?t do a good job of guarding as a team," West said. "They move the ball and really make you defend them." The Hornets played their first game after learning that owner George Shinn had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The Hornets announced that Shinn would miss their games for the next few weeks while undergoing further tests and focusing on recovery. NOTES: Toronto began a 2-week stretch where seven of eight games are on the road. ... The Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak to the Hornets. Hornets rookie Marcus Thornton, activated for the first time, scored his first NBA points in the final minute. ... Paul, a career 34.4 percent 3-point shooter entering the season, improved to 13 of 16 when he hit his first 3 on Friday. He missed his next two.
Tagged: Pelicans, Raptors

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