CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Hornets returned from All-Star break with a vengeance, demolishing the Toronto Raptors in a dominant 125-93 home win Friday night to try and reset after losing nine of the previous 10 games.
Terry Rozier and Kelly Oubre Jr. were two of six Hornets (30-31) to post double figures in the scoring column. Rozier finished with 23 points and nine rebounds on 10-of-16 shooting, while Oubre had 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting (including five made 3-pointers).
Scottie Barnes led the Raptors with 28 points. Gary Trent Jr. added 12.
After going into halftime with a 70-46 lead, Charlotte held Toronto (32-26) to just 14 third-quarter points as the lead was eventually increased to 41 points — the Hornets’ largest lead during any game this season — thanks to a 21-0 offensive run.
The performance proved to be one of the team’s most complete efforts of the year.
“I feel like this group is locked in right now,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “The last few practices have felt different to me with the mentality, the effort, the focus. What is behind us is behind us. We move forward, and there’s a lot of good basketball to be played. Our best days are in front of us right now as a basketball team, and it’s about building off this win and not being satisfied.”
Rozier added that the week of the All-Star break gave the Hornets a chance to not only rest up physically but also mentally reset after a difficult month for the entire team.
“I got my mind off basketball; I didn’t even touch a basketball because I knew it would make me miss it,” the seventh-year guard said. “I knew I would come back with the energy I had tonight. And I think it’s good for us to just move on and not even worry about what happened before the break.”
The shots were falling all night for the Hornets, who made more than 55% of their attempts from the field while holding the Raptors to 44%.
LaMelo Ball — fresh off an 18-point All-Star showing — provided 13 points and six assists, while Miles Bridges added 11 points and 10 rebounds. P.J. Washington had 13 points and five rebounds.
Another key difference-maker in Charlotte’s rotation continues to be deadline addition Montrezl Harrell, a big bruiser in the paint.
The North Carolina native posted 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, providing energy and enthusiasm that he feels is beneficial to both himself and his teammates.
“I just play my role and do what the team has asked me to do with my own little spin on it,” Harrell said. “And over here, the coaching staff wants me to be a leader to keep the young guys locked in and make sure that we stay focused on our goals.”
The Hornets will look to duplicate their Friday performance on Sunday as the Pistons (14-45) visit Charlotte for the third meeting between the two squads this season.