Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets

By: Veronica Harris

Monday, March 5, 2018

Dear Basketball,

 I’d like to start off by saying congratulations to the Black Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant. Kobe won an Oscar last night for “Best Animated Short Film”. The film is called ”Dear Basketball” and was made and inspired from a poem he wrote. Kobe is the first NBA player to win an Academy Award and I have a feeling this will inspire more NBA players to show they can do more than just “shut up & dribble”.

 Back to Ball - The Toronto Raptors took on the Charlotte Hornets Sunday night at the ACC. This was another big win for Toronto as this win combined with the Celtics loss to Houston (Saturday night) put the Raps 2 games ahead of Boston in the Eastern Conference. Toronto currently holds the longest winning streak in the East at 4 games.

 (Jump Ball)

 Raps have played 12 guys so far giving more than just the starting five some playing time. It seems Casey is looking for possible combinations. This is the Raptors’ 10th different starting lineup this year.

 It was a great 1st quarter with the Raps starting out 6/6 including a three pointer from Jonas Valancuinas. There were a couple of mistakes that may have caused Coach Casey some unnecessary stress - like a slow motion double dribble by JV late in the first.  JV finished with 18pts & 13reb. The Raps won the quarter outscoring the Hornets 26-21.

 C.J Miles brought his hot streak from Friday night’s game into the 2nd quarter where he had 20pts and was 6/9 from beyond the arc in just 20 minutes! He’s the kind of player that will really shine come Playoff time.

 Jakob Poeltl checks out with 3 fouls early in the 2nd. In comes Lucas Nogueira who adds some length to the floor.  The Bigs limited Dwight Howard to only 10pts & 2 offensive rebounds. Although it seemed it was all Raptors’, Kemba Walker didn’t give up and was keeping the Hornets alive and in the game finishing with a game high of 27pts.

 Raps up 9pts, 52-43 at the half. I really appreciated watching “The Leos” at halftime with Rod Black & Leo Rautins.  The Raptors bench won  “Best Supporting Actors” along with Dwayne Casey winning “Best Director”. Well deserved.

 It seemed the Hornets got a little pep in their step as they were catching up with 5:29 left to play in the 3rd, shrinking the lead to 2pts.  As a result, Casey called a time out. As they returned to the floor it was all up hill from there - draining immediate back-to back threes - first with Ibaka then with JV.  Combined, both players were 5-7 from 3-pt range. Poeltl checks into the game late in the 3rd and comes in with a block bringing his season total to 82!

 As the 4th quarter went on, both teams had some good looks and as much as the Hornets tried, they just couldn’t catch up to the Raptors.

 It was a good win by Toronto as they have a day off and take on the Atlanta Hawks at the Air Canada Centre Tuesday night at 7:00pm. Toronto is looking to extend the winning streak to 5 games!

 ** Fun Fact: Canadian G-League Star Xavier Rathan-Mayes just signed a 10-day contract with the Memphis Grizzles who play the San Antonio Spurs tonight at 8:30pm.

Raptors 103-98 Hornets