After a first half battle, the Toronto Raptors pulled away to beat the Charlotte Hornets in blowout fashion. What were the game’s main takeaways?
Everyone loves to focus on big-time matchups. And to be fair, games against the NBA’s elite are more fun. You can’t blame anyone for being more excited to watch the Toronto Raptors matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks than watch them play a game against the Charlotte Hornets. But that doesn’t mean the games against the bottom-tier aren’t illuminating.
Good teams, smart teams beat up on the NBA’s meekest opponents. And while their 6-7 record might suggest otherwise, the Hornets are one of the worst teams in the NBA. Heading into this contest they ranked 22nd in offense, 27th in defense, and 27th in Netrating. They’ve stolen a couple of close games, but they’re an opponent good teams should handle with ease.
Well, after a rough shooting first half, that’s exactly what the Toronto Raptors did. Early on, Toronto couldn’t hit water if they fell off a boat. They shot under 25-percent from 3-point range on a variety of good looks. The Hornets, meanwhile, managed to shoot above 45-percent, as Marvin Williams — who could be in the dictionary next to “Replacement Level Player” — kept the Hornets in the game despite them being outshot by 11 attempts in the half.
The second half was a different story. Toronto pinged the ball from shooter to shooter, opening up easy looks for everyone. The Raptors shot a ridiculous 68-percent from three! They posted a second-half offensive rating of 153 and broke the franchise record for assists.
The Raptors dominated this game from halftime on, showing how good the team can look when everyone is clicking on full cylinders, even when they’re not at full strength.
What did we learn from the Raptors blowout win?