DeRozan, Raptors rally to down Hornets
The Toronto Raptors followed their worst quarter of the season with their best.
Linas Kleiza and DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points apiece and Toronto rallied to beat the New Orleans Hornets 95-84 on Wednesday night.
The Raptors, who trailed 69-62 after tying a season low for points in a quarter with 11 in the third, broke loose for 33 in the fourth — matching a season best for any period. They hit their first eight shots and took control by scoring 22 points in the first 4:22.
"It was all on us," DeRozan said. "They weren't doing anything to stop us or get us off. We knew we were going to put it together in the fourth quarter."
Kleiza tied a career high with five 3-pointers off the bench, including three in the fourth. Leandro Barbosa, another reserve, added 15 points.
The Raptors, unable to finish in an 88-85 loss at Houston on Tuesday, made almost everything down the stretch against the Hornets. The win snapped a five-game road losing streak.
"We moved the ball very well," Barbosa said. "That was the difference between last night and tonight. We're getting better and we're growing."
Marco Belinelli had 20 points for the Hornets, who missed 13 consecutive shots in the fourth quarter and lost for the 16th straight time after trailing at the half. Chris Kaman added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
"Our defence just went downhill," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "We couldn't guard the ball."
The game turned quickly at the start of the fourth after Toronto missed 17 of 21 shots in the third, getting outscored 23-11.
DeRozan scored on a floater, Kleiza drilled a 3-pointer and Barbosa converted a transition layup to tie the score right away, prompting a New Orleans timeout with 10:43 left.
The Raptors did not cool down. Kleiza hit another 3 on their next possession for a 72-71 lead. Jerryd Bayless responded to a 3 by Belinelli with a 3 the next time down the court. After Belinelli sank another 3, Barbosa hit a mid-range shot, Bayless made two free throws and Barbosa made a 3 from the corner to give Toronto an 82-77 lead with 7:38 left.
Kleiza finished off the Hornets with his fifth 3-pointer, a 25-footer, to put Toronto ahead 89-81 with 3:25 left.
The final margin was Toronto's largest lead of the night.
"These are the games we are supposed to win," DeRozan said. "We are still in the hunt. We've got four home games and have to take advantage of that. Once we start doing that, things will start looking better."
The Hornets turned a 51-46 halftime deficit into a 69-62 lead by limiting the Raptors to one basket in the last 7 minutes of the third quarter. New Orleans went ahead for the first time since the first quarter, 60-58, on Trevor Ariza's layup. The Hornets extended the advantage to seven when reserve Solomon Jones scored back-to-back baskets in the final minute, getting the ball to fall in after rolling around the rim both times.
Toronto's shots hit nothing but net to start the fourth quarter. DeRozan, who sent out a two-word tweet with an expletive 43 minutes after he was benched for the fourth quarter against Houston, was in a much better frame of mind Wednesday.
He played all 12 minutes of the fourth against New Orleans, scoring seven points.
"When you are a competitor and you're losing, it definitely gets to you," he said. "I didn't mean any harm by it. Everybody has moments like that. You live and you learn."
Jose Calderon sank all four of his shots, including a pair of 3s to give Toronto a 29-25 lead by the end of the first quarter.
New Orleans point guard Jarrett Jack, coming off the bench for the sixth consecutive game after missing seven in a row with sore knees, struggled for almost all of the first half. He hit the backboard on the fly with a 3-point attempt and shot an airball from 17 feet that Kaman grabbed for a layup.
Jack scored his only baskets of the half on back-to-back layups in the last 10.5 seconds and finished 3 of 12 from the field.
"I'm going to put this one on my shoulders squarely," he said. "This team looks to me for a lot, and I have to be the captain. I want to be that guy. I want the ball."