Basketball: Balanced scoring effort leads Raptors past Hornets

Toronto notched first winning streak (2) of the season with 116-113 win over the Charlotte Hornets

Toronto Raptors Norman Powell driving to the basket against Charlotte Hornets Caleb Martin (left) during their NBA match on Jan 16, 2020. PHOTO: KIM KLEMENT/USA TODAY SPORTS

FLORIDA (Reuters) - Norman Powell made six three-pointers en route to a team-high 24 points, and the Toronto Raptors scored their second win over the Charlotte Hornets in as many games, 116-113, Saturday (Jan 16) at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

Powell was one of four Raptors to knock down three or more three-pointers along with OG Anunoby, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. Toronto shot 21 of 49 from long range as a team compared to Charlotte's 15 of 36, who combined with the Raptors' 55-to-24 edge in bench scoring to make the difference.

Chris Boucher scored 20 points to complement Powell's season high as the duo powered the Raptors' outpouring from the reserves. Boucher scored his final two points at the free-throw line with 3.4 seconds left to preserve the win.

Lowry led the Toronto starters with 19 points, Anunoby added 18, and VanVleet flirted with a triple-double, posting 15 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

Toronto nearly squandered a big lead in the fourth quarter of Thursday's win, the result of a 12-point fourth quarter. Those offensive woes carried into the early going Saturday, with the Raptors going almost three minutes before scoring their first field goal.

Their three-point shooting came alive, however, as the Raptors pushed their lead to as many as 12 points in the second quarter. But Terry Rozier knocked down back-to-back three-pointers in the final 9.8 seconds of the half to cut the gap to two points, and it remained a back-and-forth affair for the entire second half.

Gordon Hayward, who missed Thursday's match-up between the two teams with a hip injury, led Charlotte with 25 points. Rozier scored 24 points and knocked down six 3-pointers, while Devonte' Graham - who finished with 20 points - made his fourth and final 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds remaining to pull the Hornets within one point before Boucher's decisive foul shots.

Graham also dished out a team-high seven assists in the loss.

With the win, Toronto has their first winning streak (2) of the 2020-21 season.

Saturday marked the second of five straight Raptors games in Tampa, where they are playing their home contests this season due to Canada's Covid-19 travel restrictions.

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