Hornets fall to Raptors 102-89

Hornets rookie Austin Rivers. Photo by Hornets.com.

After flirting with disaster for most of the first three quarters, the Toronto Raptors (19-32) cruised to a 102-89 victory over the New Orleans Hornets (17-34) at the Air Canada Centre last night. Toronto outscored the visiting Hornets 33-23 during a deciding fourth quarter led by its second unit and the team's newest player.

Rudy Gay had a game-high 20 points, leading the Raptors in scoring for the fifth consecutive contest. Gay -- one of six Raptors to score in double figures -- poured in eight points during the final frame, assisted by reserve John Lucas III who added 10 of his 19 in the quarter. Kyle Lowry (14 points, 10 assists) and Jonas Valanciunas (11 points, 10 rebounds) each registered double-doubles while Amir Johnson scored 14, and Alan Anderson chipped in with 11 off the bench.

The Hornets fell behind early, allowing Toronto to shoot 67 percent in the opening quarter. Despite opening the second with a 12-0 run, New Orleans was unable to slow down the Raptors, who outscored them 16-7 on the break. Robin Lopez had a team-best 19 points on the evening, Greivis Vasquez tallied 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists while reserves Ryan Anderson and Brian Roberts scored 15 and 13 respectively.

The Raptors held a 39-33 advantage on the boards, outrebounding their opponent for a season-best sixth straight game. Toronto grabbed 12 offensive rebounds, leading to 19 second-chance points compared to just eight off of six offensive boards for New Orleans.

Although the Raptors maintained their lead for the duration of the second half, New Orleans hung around until Toronto's bench engineered a 12-4 run midway through the fourth quarter. Led by Lucas, the Raptors' reserves stretched Toronto's advantage to 13, and the Hornets were never able to recover.