Newspaper article The Canadian Press

DeRozan, Lowry as Raptors Open New Year with 104-94 Win over Hornets

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

DeRozan, Lowry as Raptors Open New Year with 104-94 Win over Hornets

Article excerpt

DeRozan, Lowry lead Raptors over Hornets


TORONTO - Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey credited his teams' defensive play for their fourth-quarter turnaround on Friday night.

The Raptors erased an eight-point deficit heading into the final 12 minutes to defeat the Charlotte Hornets 104-94.

"First half, I didn't recognize some of those straight-line drives they were making," Casey said. "They were going by us way too easy, but we shored it up down the stretch. I thought Patrick Patterson and Bismack Biyombo came in and changed the game defensively. They set the tone with their physicality in that third and fourth.

"Somehow, some way we've got to get the offence clicking where our rhythm and timing is there and our passing, and cut down on the turnovers."

Patterson shot 4 for 6 from three-point range and went 5 for 9 from the field for 14 points and six rebounds in the win. Biyombo, who was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Hornets in the off-season, added six points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Friday was Biyombo's 14th game this season with 10 or more boards.

"I think we all did a good job finding away to play better defence, protecting the paint, rebounding the ball," said Biyombo, who spent four seasons with the Hornets' organization. "Of course I have to do my part, but each and every one of us in this locker-room has to do our job."

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with a game-high 23 points while shooting a perfect 7 for 7 from the line.

"We finally got into a rhythm, got a couple stops and that's all we needed," said DeRozan of the fourth quarter. "We just understood that if we got some stops and some big buckets, we would be right back in the game."

Kyle Lowry shook off a slow first half to finish with 18 points and 11 assists. Lowry appeared to injure his ankle after landing awkwardly on Kemba Walker in the fourth but a team spokesman said post-game that Lowry was fine. …

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