By: Josh Weinstein
On the backs of their all-star backcourt, the Toronto Raptors outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 126-113 on Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were brilliant, as both reached the 30-point mark in the same game for the first time this season. Let's start with Lowry: He scored a season-high 36 points and had undoubtedly his best shooting game of the season - and maybe of his career - nailing 12 of his 18 shot, including a career-high eight three-pointers on 11 attempts.
As for DeRozan, he bounced back from three consecutive poor showings with 30 points of his own, including 10 in the opening quarter. Both DeRozan and Lowry added six assists to their stat lines.
The Raptors reserves once again played exceptionally, with Fred VanVleet chipping in 8 points and 9 assists and Lucas Nogueira playing well in limited minutes. Bebe even nailed a three-pointer, but would leave the game with a right calf strain shortly after.
With Kemba Walker sidelined, Dwight Howard led the Hornets in scoring with 22 points and 10 rebounds. It was another stellar performance for the big man who's had a great start to his first season in Charlotte.
Jeremy Lamb and Frank Kaminsky pitched in 18 points apiece off the bench as well.
Despite the win, there was plenty of cause for concern from the Raptors standpoint. Slow starts to the first and third quarters have been this team's achilles heel all season long and once again affected them on this night. After building up a 19-point halftime lead, the Raptors were outscored 33-22 in the third, which shrunk their lead to just eight points entering the final Q. If not for the bench - particularly VanVleet - reentering the game late, and a few timely triples from Lowry down the stretch, who knows if the Raps would have been able to hold on.
The Raps continue their three-game home-stand on Friday against the Indiana Pacers.