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Raptors return home to host Pelicans
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors are back in the great white north and will entertain the New Orleans Pelicans Monday at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors went 2-3 on their western jaunt and will play eight of the next 10 games at home, where they are 7-1 since Jan. 1. Toronto has a 12-10 home record this season.
The western trip concluded with Friday's 118-105 setback against the Los Angeles Clippers, as DeMar DeRozan ended with 36 points and eight assists, and Kyle Lowry finished with 19 points. DeRozan tried closing the gap for the Raptors, but the Clippers were able to pull away for the win.
"We got it down to nine points," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "We had to attack but we struggled making shots."
DeRozan averaged 28.3 points per game on the trip, while Lowry posted an average of 15.6 points and 5.6 assists over the previous five games.
Defense has been key for the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, as they are fifth in the NBA in points allowed (97.1) and ninth in opponent field goal percentage (.446). They have won six straight games when allowing less than 100 points and are 22-6 when the opposition scores less than 100 points.
New Orleans opened a three-game road trip with Sunday's 93-81 loss at Brooklyn and entered the game having won two straight and six of eight. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Brian Roberts and Austin Rivers scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Pelicans shot just 36.1 percent for the game and made 6-of-18 3-pointers.
"We just didn't play well tonight," said Davis, who has scored 20-plus points in three straight and six of seven games. "We know it, the coaches know it, everybody knows it."
New Orleans has lost two in a row on the road, has a 9-16 record away from the Big Easy and will close the trip Wednesday at Milwaukee.
The Pelicans and Raptors are meeting for the first time since Toronto took both matchups a season ago. The Raptors have prevailed in six of the last seven encounters with New Orleans and are unbeaten in the past three showdowns at Air Canada Centre.
02/10 10:10:30 ET
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