Raptors host suddenly short-handed Hornets

NBA Basketball
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The rebuilding Charlotte Hornets forced the Toronto Raptors to overtime before losing to the reigning NBA champions at home on Jan. 8.

The Hornets will be the visiting team Friday night, when they look for their first win in three games against the Raptors.

Toronto won the overtime meeting 112-110 when Serge Ibaka made two free throws with 5.1 seconds to play.

The Raptors lost for only the second time in 19 games Tuesday, falling 108-97 to the visiting Milwaukee Bucks.

Charlotte ended a two-game skid Wednesday night, defeating the visiting New York Knicks 107-101 for their fifth win in 20 games. Terry Rozier scored 26 points.

The Hornets will be without guard Malik Monk, who was suspended indefinitely Wednesday by the NBA for a violation of the league’s anti-drug policy.

“(The suspension) does put us in a bind,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “But in the end, this could be a very positive story. I look forward to talking to him.”

Monk was averaging 17.0 points his last 13 games, shooting 35.0 percent from 3-point range. He made the first start of his three-year NBA career Tuesday in a road loss to the Indiana Pacers.

“Not just for a couple of games — he had a good month’s stretch here where he had been playing extremely well,” Borrego said. “I think (he was) our leading scorer the last 15 games.”

Rookies Cody Martin (nine points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes Wednesday) and Caleb Martin (five points in 14 minutes) will get more playing time and Dwayne Bacon could be recalled from the G League’s Greensboro Swarm. Bacon began the season as a Hornets starter.

Hornets center Cody Zeller did not play for the second time in four games Wednesday despite being healthy. Charlotte is taking a long look at centers Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez, who will be free agents in July.

The Raptors had their nine-game home winning streak stopped by the Bucks on Tuesday. The Bucks, who lead the Eastern Conference standings, held the Raptors to 35.2 percent shooting and 34.6 percent (18 of 52) from 3-point distance.

“Look at the shooting percentages it wasn’t too good either way,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Pretty good defensive game both ways, I was pretty happy. I thought we were amazing for about 22 minutes and then we had the ball and had a little weird turnover in transition there to start their run and end the second quarter.

“I don’t know, we just didn’t for some reason make enough of those (3-point) shots. I think we had some pretty good ones there. You probably can’t have Serge (Ibaka) go 1 for 10, Kyle (Lowry) go 1 for 7 and Fred (VanVleet) go 3 for 9, but in saying that Serge had like 21 straight great games.”

Raptors guard Norman Powell (broken finger) was cleared to practice Thursday. He has missed the past nine games. He is considered questionable for Friday, but Nurse said there is a chance he will play.

Raptors center Marc Gasol (hamstring) will not play. He has missed the past 11 games.

–Field Level Media

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