|Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) and forward Linas Kleiza (11) talk near the end of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. The Raptors won 95-84. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)|
Kleiza, DeRozan lead Raptors past Hornets 95-84
The Raptors, who trailed 69-62 after tying a season low for points in a quarter with 11 in the third, broke loose for 33 in the fourth -- matching a season best for any quarter. They hit their first eight shots and took control by scoring 22 points in the first 4:22.
Kleiza tied a career high with five 3-pointers off the bench, including three in the fourth. Leandro Barbosa, another reserve, added 15 points.
Marco Belinelli had 20 points for the Hornets, who missed 13 consecutive shots in the fourth quarter and lost for the 16th straight time after trailing at the half. Chris Kaman added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The game turned quickly at the start of the fourth after Toronto missed 17 of 21 shots in the third, getting outscored 23-11.
DeRozan scored on a floater, Kleiza drilled a 3-pointer and Barbosa converted a transition layup to tie the score right away, prompting a New Orleans timeout with 10:43 left.
The Raptors did not cool down. Kleiza hit another 3 on their next possession for a 72-71 lead. Jerryd Bayless responded to a 3 by Belinelli with a 3 the next time down the court. After Belinelli sank another 3, Barbosa hit a mid-range shot, Bayless made two free throws and Barbosa made a 3 from the corner to give Toronto an 82-77 lead with 7:38 left.
Kleiza finished off the Hornets with his fifth 3-pointer, a 25-footer, to put Toronto ahead 89-81with 3:25 left.
The final margin was Toronto's largest lead of the night.
The Hornets turned a 51-46 halftime deficit into a 69-62 lead by limiting the Raptors to one basket in the last 7 minutes of the third quarter. New Orleans went ahead for the first time since the first quarter, 60-58, on Trevor Ariza's layup. The Hornets extended the advantage to seven when reserve Solomon Jones scored back-to-back baskets in the final minute, getting the ball to fall in after rolling around the rim both times.
Toronto went more than 4 minutes at the start without making a shot, getting its only two baskets on putbacks while falling behind 12-4. The Raptors heated up quickly, though, finishing the first quarter 12 of 19 (63.2 percent) from the field.
Jose Calderon sank all four of his shots, including a pair of 3s to give Toronto a 29-25 lead by the end of the quarter.
New Orleans point guard Jarrett Jack, coming off the bench for the sixth consecutive game after missing seven in a row with sore knees, struggled for almost all of the first half. He hit the backboard on the fly with a 3-point attempt and shot an airball from 17 feet that
Jack scored his only baskets of the half on back-to-back layups in the last 10.5 seconds and finished 3 of 12 from the field.
NOTES: Raptors coach Dwane Casey said before the game he had addressed a negative tweet by DeRozan internally. Only 43 minutes after he was benched for the entire fourth quarter of the Raptors' 88-85 loss at Houston on Tuesday, DeRozan sent out a two-word tweet with an expletive that appeared to be addressing his benching, then deleted it. He led the Raptors with 17 points and averaged 21.6 points in his last five games. ... Toronto's leading scorer, Andrea Bargnani, missed his 16th straight game Toronto with a calf injury. . Toronto forward Amir Johnson blocked five shots, including two layup attempts in a row by Kaman.