TORONTO – DeMar DeRozan poured in 23 points and the Toronto Raptors used a fourth-quarter comeback to open the new year with a 104-94 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.
Kyle Lowry shook off a slow first half to finish with 18 points and 11 assists. Jonas Valanciunas, playing in just his third game since returning from a broken bone in his left hand, had 10 points and 12 rebounds while DeMarre Carroll and Patrick Patterson added 14 points apiece as the Raptors (21-13) won for the fourth time in five games.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets (17-15) with 18 points and five rebounds while Marvin Williams added 17 points. Charlotte won the first of three meetings between the two clubs 109-99 on Dec. 17.
The Raptors opened the fourth on an 8-0 run – led by a pair of threes from Patterson – to erase the Hornets’ eight point lead.
Walker led a 7-0 run to start the third quarter as Charlotte jumped out to a 62-55 lead early. The Hornets scored seven in the final minute of the third to take an 82-74 lead into the fourth.
With Lowry struggling from the field, Cory Joseph stepped off the bench and had six points in his first seven minutes of action to help the Raptors head into the break tied 55-55.
Walker and Williams each had four second-quarter points for Charlotte while Frank Kaminsky had nine points and four rebounds off the bench.
DeRozan led the way in the first, scoring 12 of the Raptors 29 as Toronto held a one-point lead after one.
Charlotte shot 42 per cent in the first quarter, but scored four points off of eight Toronto turnovers. Cody Zeller led the Hornets with a team-high seven points and four rebounds after 12 minutes.
Notes: Hornets guard Jeremy Lin (right ankle sprain) and forward Spencer Hawes (lower back tightness) missed Friday’s game. … Toronto recalled Anthony Bennett, Norman Powell and Delon Wright from the D-League’s Raptors 905 on Friday.