NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 28th
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (9-20) at New Orleans Hornets (6-22), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Orleans Hornets will look for their second two-game
winning streak of the season on Friday night when they host the Toronto
The Hornets snapped an 11-game losing streak on Wednesday with a 97-94 road
victory over the Orlando Magic. New Orleans hasn't won in the Big Easy since
Dec. 3 over the Milwaukee Bucks.
In their victory over the Magic, the Hornets were led by Robin Lopez, who had
29 points on 9-for-10 shooting and 11-for-12 free-throw shooting. Greivis
Vasquez added 27 and first-overall pick in last summer's draft, Anthony Davis,
had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
New Orleans only committed nine turnovers, shot 50 percent from the field, but
a putrid 16.7 percent from long distance. The Hornets did a nice job on the
defensive end, holding the Magic to 45.6 percent field-goal shooting.
"My mindset is always to win every game we play," said Hornets head coach
Monty Williams. "I don't care who it is in our lineup, young or whoever the
guy is we're going to try to win games, so my mindset is the same. I'll enjoy
this for about 15 more minutes and then I'll start thinking about the next
The next game is against the Raptors, who had their five-game winning streak
halted Wednesday night in San Antonio against the Spurs. Toronto fell 100-80
and lost another critical piece to injury.
With Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry already shelved with injury, Jonas
Valanciunas fractured the metacarpal on his right ring finger and will be out
Against the Spurs, no starter scored in double-figures and the unit combined
for 27 points. Four reserves reached double-digits, led by 12 apiece from Amir
Johnson and Alan Anderson.
Five Spurs had double-figure scoring nights, led by the venerable Tim Duncan,
Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
"I've been on that other side; I know what the composure is - experience,"
Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "This team has been together forever. You got
Hall of Famer in Ginobili and Duncan and Parker and it's a huge difference.
We're trying to learn to keep that composure through those stretches and do
the right things; make the right plays offensively and defensively."
Jose Calderon will move into sole possession of second place on the Raptors'
all-time games played list at 510. He is 32 away from franchise record-holder
Boy does the traveling lighten up for the Raptors after Friday's night tilt
in bayou country. The Raptors won't leave the Eastern time zone again until
Mar. 2 in Milwaukee.
The Raptors bested the Hornets in New Orleans in last season's only matchup
and have taken four of the last five. They are 3-2 in their last five in New
12/28 10:36:33 ET