NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 19th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (37-29) at New Orleans Pelicans (27-39), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors have dropped two straight and will try to get back on track Wednesday night when they visit the Smoothie King Center to take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Raptors fell at home to the Phoenix Suns and lost on the road to the Atlanta Hawks during this mini swoon. Toronto's lead in the Atlantic Division is just 2 1/2 games over the Brooklyn Nets and the Raptors' advantage over the Chicago Bulls for the third seed in the Eastern Conference is down to a half- game.
On Tuesday, the Raptors fell in overtime to the Hawks at Philips Arena, 118-113.
DeMar DeRozan paced Toronto with 29 points to go along with 10 rebounds and Kyle Lowry contributed 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the loss, their second straight on the road.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 16 points, while Amir Johnson and Terrence Ross each chipped in with 11 points for Toronto.
Toronto had the ball with under 20 ticks to play in the extra session and trailed by two when Johnson turned the ball over after an offensive foul. Atlanta sealed it at the free throw line to continue its late season surge to maintain its playoff position.
"(In the overtime) we got stops but you got to able to score," said Toronto coach Dwane Casey. "I thought DeMar (DeRozan) did a good job of playing out of the double-team they were committed to, had some open looks, but again, you got to knock those down, you got to make those plays and we had trouble doing that."
The Pelicans halted a two-game slide last time out, a 121-120 overtime victory Sunday night over the Boston Celtics. That pushed New Orleans to 3-2 on this six-game homestand, which comes to an end Wednesday night.
Anthony Davis posted 40 points and 21 rebounds to carry the Pelicans. Davis surpassed his career-highs in points and rebounds while also becoming the first player in Pelican history to record a 40-point/20-rebound game.
"I'm just trying to stay locked in. Every game, coach talks about being great. Anthony Morrow tells me, 'Be great every game.' I just go out there and do the things for us to win. As long as we get the win, that's all that matters to me," said Davis.
Tyreke Evans scored 26 and Eric Gordon added 19 points and eight assists for the Pelicans. Evans scored five of his 26 in the extra session to help New Orleans to victory.
The Pelicans visit the Hawks on Friday, then play four in a row in the Big Easy.
The Raptors have won five straight against the Pelicans, including this season's only matchup, a seven-point win at the Air Canada Centre on Feb. 10. Toronto is 5-2 in its last seven meetings as the visitor in this series.
03/19 10:27:16 ET