NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, January 20th
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (20-19) at Charlotte Bobcats (17-25), 2 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Charlotte Bobcats will try to continue their recent
mastery of the Toronto Raptors when the two clubs collide Monday afternoon to
celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The Bobcats have beaten the Raptors twice already this season and are 10-3 in
the past 13 meetings between the teams. Charlotte has defeated Toronto six
straight times at home and is 9-3 in the last 12 games as the host.
Charlotte, though, has struggled outside its series with the Raptors and fell
to 3-10 in the last 13 games following Saturday's 104-96 overtime loss versus
the Miami Heat in the opener of a three-game homestand.
Al Jefferson scored 22 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, Ramon Sessions had
16 points and five assists and Gerald Henderson finished with 11 points and
five assists for the Bobcats.
"We play hard. You just can't make mistakes against Miami. They really picked
their defense up in overtime," Jefferson said.
Charlotte guard and leading scorer (18.7 ppg) Kemba Walker left the game in
the third quarter with a left ankle sprain. Walker appeared to roll his ankle
on Chris Bosh's foot as he drove to the hoop. He immediately fell to the
ground and was helped to the locker room. X-rays were negative, but he did not
return to the game. Walker finished with six points and eight assists before
exiting and is expected to miss one to two weeks.
The Bobcats will wrap up the homestand Wednesday versus the Los Angeles
Clippers and are 9-12 as the host.
Toronto hopes to snap a three-game road losing streak Monday and suffered a
112-106 setback at home to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry scored 23 and 21 points, respectively, for the
Atlantic Division-leading Raptors, who had won four of five coming in and were
riding a six-game home winning streak.
"We didn't play our defensive game. We played their game," Raptors head coach
Dwane Casey said. "We didn't get our defense to focus the whole game."
The Raptors had a 36-29 lead after the first quarter, but lost the next three
periods and shot 48.9 percent from the field. They lost despite having a 47-31
advantage in rebounds and a 30-20 edge in assists.
L.A. shot well from downtown, making 12-of-22 3-pointers. Nick Young led the
Lakers with 29 points off the bench.
Toronto, which is 10-10 away from Air Canada Centre this season, is second in
the NBA in defense the last 10 games, holding opponents to just 91.2 points
per game in that stretch. DeRozan is averaging 22.5 ppg over that span.
01/20 10:27:03 ET