Lowry, Wright spark Raptors’ rally past Hornets | Toronto Star

It wasn’t quite the changing of the guard Raptors fans might have expected here Wednesday night, but the Toronto Raptors ushered in what they hope will be a fresh start to the final third of the season with a rare victory over Charlotte Hornets. It...

Lowry, Wright spark Raptors’ rally past Hornets | Toronto Star

It wasn’t quite the changing of the guard Raptors fans might have expected here Wednesday night, but the Toronto Raptors ushered in what they hope will be a fresh start to the final third of the season with a rare victory over Charlotte Hornets.

It helped that the visitors limped into the Air Canada Centre with a 15-game record more dismal than the home side’s, though a discombobulated Raptors offence made Charlotte look good for much of the game.

But the Raptors will take what they can, including a largely ugly 90-85 win after almost two weeks of floundering.

The latest recruit, Serge Ibaka, made it into the building Wednesday night but not onto the court during his first day in Toronto. Coach Dwane Casey elected not to put added pressure on his new No. 9 after a taxing 36 hours of travel and emotion.

Toronto was also without Patrick Patterson for a sixth game thanks to a bruised left knee.

They managed to win anyway — but just.

Charlotte entered its final game before the all-star break desperate for its first road win since late December.

Casey started small, with Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Norm Powell, DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas comprising a lineup only slightly bigger than the one that nearly dug Toronto out of a 23-point hole against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.

The Raptors were up by 11 after the opening quarter. An early three from Carroll in the second looked like it would get Toronto off on the right foot again, but the offence stalled soon after.

In the third quarter, Hornets centre Frank Kaminsky, who finished the night with 27 points, outscored the Raptors.

But some much needed energy — and eight points — from Delon Wright, an 11-point resurgence from Lowry and a late three from Carroll saw Toronto outscore Charlotte 32-10 in the fourth quarter, snapping a three-game losing streak.

The Raptors are off for eight days now, including the all-star break — except for Eastern Conference selections Lowry and DeRozan. Casey hopes it will give him time to work out some kinks in the rotation.

“It was so boring before. We had our set rotations. But again, that’s the continuity factor that helps you and since then it’s been helter skelter.”

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