The Raptors couldn’t hold a 13-point lead with less than 6 minutes left, & allowed New Orleans to pull into a tie on a Ryan Anderson 3-ball with 8 seconds remaining in regulation. However, the visitors never trailed in OT, & managed to grab their 6th win in 7 games.
The game offered many examples of why both these teams are well below .500, but had some stellar moments as well. Many of those belonged to DeMar DeRozan, who hit jump shots, drives, & foul shots on his way to a 30-point night. Kyle Lowry made his return to the lineup, & showed why he’s been sorely missed, tossing in 17, including a driving reverse layup & a 3-ball in OT. Ed Davis was solid, with 13 points & 5 boards, but Coach Casey didn’t play him in crunch time, again, preferring the reliable Amir Johnson. Jose Calderon had an off-night, going 1/6 from the floor, & was joined in disappointment by Terrence Ross, whose 1/8 performance was lowlighted by 0/6 from distance. Alan Anderson stepped up, scoring 16 & harassing Anderson, the Hornets’ (indeed, the NBA’s) best 3-ball shooter, into several turnovers. However, “their” Anderson is no one-trick pony – he scored 17 points, but also grabbed 12 rebounds.
I think the Hornets are a lot closer to being a competitive team than their unsightly 6-23 record might suggest. Anthony Davis, the #1 pick in last summer’s draft, will be a monster in no more than 3 seasons. I knew he could rebound & defend, & is long, fast, & smart, but I didn’t know he possesses a highly refined jump shot, which he used to great effect on his way to 25 points. Greivis Vazquez, a speedy Shooting Guard, had 20 points, 14 assists, & 9 rebounds – yes, that’s one board short of a triple-double. Austin Rivers didn’t impress me greatly (his decision-making is weak, & he’s not particularly fast or quick) but he has his Coach’s trust. He played over 41 minutes, scored 12 points, & was plus13.
The Raps lost the rebounding battle, 51-41, but got to the foul line more often. They hit 7 more FTs than their opponents, just the margin of victory.
Toronto is in Orlando tomorrow for their third game of the season against the Magic.