CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Pascal Siakam scored 22 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from four 9-point first quarter deficits to roll past the Charlotte Hornets 120-100 on Tuesday night.
Toronto has won five of its last six games, improving to 40-39 and solidifying their position for the NBA play-in tournament.
The Raptors scored 19 straight points during a stretch late in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter after Charlotte had gotten within 80-75 with 3:49 left in the third quarter.
Siakam also had 14 rebounds and was joined in double digits by Chris Boucher (21 points), Will Barton (20), O.G. Anunoby (17), Fred VanVleet (16), Precious Achiuwa (12) and Jakob Poeltl (10).
The Hornets, who were leading 40-38 in middle of the second quarter, were led by Bryce McGowens’ career-high 20 points. Nick Richards added 18 points and 11 rebounds and Svi Mykhailiuk had 17 points, JT Thor 13 and Theo Maledon 13 as all five of Charlotte’s starters scored in double figures.
The Hornets (26-54) are without eight players due to injury including LaMelo Ball (right ankle surgery), Gordon Hayward (left thumb sprain), Kelly Oubre Jr. (left shoulder sprain), Terry Rozier (right foot injury), Dennis Smith Jr. (right toe sprain), P.J. Washington (right foot sprain) and Mark Williams (left ankle sprain).
Raptors: Barton is one of the more veteran players on the Raptors’ roster with 11 years of NBA experience, which includes 29 postseason games with nine starts. But he’s played in 12 games with Toronto since being signed as free agent on Feb. 28 and he had missed the previous three games with a left ankle sprain. “I guess we’re going to have to figure that out in the next four games that we have left,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said of Barton’s role.
Hornets: Coach Steve Clifford started his 26th different starting lineup Tuesday when he gave the unit of guards Maledon and Mykhailiuk, forwards McGowens and Thor and center Richards the start. It’s the third-most lineups in franchise, behind the 2005-06 and 2006-07 Charlotte Bobcats, which used 28 different starters.
Raptors: At Boston on Wednesday.
Hornets: Host Houston on Friday. ___