Raptors and John Lucas put away Hornets in the 4th

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Behind a dominant fourth quarter performance from John Lucas, the Raptors were able to coast to a comfortable win at home against the Hornets.

After hanging around for three quarters, the Hornets' poor perimeter defense finally came back to haunt them in Toronto. Let's bite the bullets:

  • The bench play was outstanding. Anderson had a relatively pedestrian game by his standards (15 points, only 1-5 from three), but Rivers and Roberts had superior nights. Roberts scored 13 points in 15 minutes on only 7 field goal attempts - whenever he got the ball, he was looking to shoot, and he singlehandedly kept the Hornets close in the middle of the second half.
  • There's no doubt that Austin Rivers is beginning to show that he has some NBA skills. He's able to get past defenders cleanly on a regular basis, something he certainly couldn't do a few months ago. Once he gets penetration, he's starting to show better decision making skills, able to finish at the rim as well as find the open man on a kick out. He still does maddening things on offense - I have no idea what in the world he was thinking on his bizarre turnover - but he does, at the bare minimum, have NBA-level offensive ability.
  • Anthony Davis played less than 20 minutes despite picking up only one foul. He was woeful offensively, sure, but you have to wonder why Monty is so severely limiting his minutes.
  • Watching the game, I felt like Vasquez was having an off night. Looking at the box score, it sure seems like Vasquez has very good off nights.
  • Robin Lopez had an excellent game offensively, to be sure. Defensively, he had a tough time keeping the Raptors off the glass - Toronto had 12 offensive boards. Possession after possession, Hornets perimeter players (I'm looking at you, Vasquez and Rivers) allowed easy penetration, Lopez had to come up or come over to contest the shot, the shot was missed, and Lopez's mark easily grabbed the offensive rebound since he wasn't able to box out. Having Davis on the floor as the primary help defender probably would have helped to limit these scenarios.
  • Looking to tomorrow night, it's good news that Monty distributed the minutes so evenly tonight. The only Hornets starter with over 30 minutes against Toronto was Vasquez (Anderson also chalked up 33 off the bench). Hopefully, the team will be fresh for tomorrow's game after the quick trip across the border to Detroit.
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