Hornets 113, Raptors 101
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Larry Johnson and Glen Rice scored 27 points apiece Friday night and the Charlotte Hornets blew an 11-point lead before rallying for a 113-101 victory over the injury-plagued Toronto Raptors.
Johnson broke the last of six fourth-quarter ties with 2:19 remaining, and the Hornets went on to their third victory in four games.
Damon Stoudamire, Oliver Miller and Sharone Wright each scored 20 to lead the Raptors, who missed their final five field goal attempts and scored just one point in the last three minutes.
Toronto starting guard Alvin Robertson, the only player on the expansion team’s roster with more than three years of NBA experience, was placed on the injured list before the game. Robertson bruised his right big toe in Tuesday night’s loss at Philadelphia.
His absence forced the Raptors to go with their 18th different starting lineup this season, but they stayed close in the first half, thanks in large part to Wright’s 20 points and eight rebounds.
Wright, however, was unable to join his teammates when they came out for the second half. He stayed in the Toronto dressing room for the rest of the game to get treatment for lower back spasms.
Charlotte had eight third-quarter turnovers, helping Toronto erase a 70-59 deficit and take a 90-89 edge on a 3-pointer by Stoudamire with 7:59 left in the game. It was the Raptors’ first lead since the opening quarter, and it would be their last.
Johnson put the Hornets ahead to stay on a driving layup that made it 102-100. Rice and Dell Curry, who finished with 22 points, each made a 3-pointer as Charlotte gradually pulled away to the final margin.
Toronto’s Tracy Murray, coming off a franchise-record 31-point performance against Philadelphia, struggled against the Hornets, missing five of his six field-goal attempts on the way to a 2-point first half. He finished with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Notes: Charlotte point guard Kenny Anderson, playing for the first time in three games after suffering a sprained right ankle, had seven points and five assists in 28 minutes. ... To take Robertson’s roster spot, the Raptors activated forward Dwayne Whitfield. He had been placed on the injured list March 4 with a sore left knee. ... Chris Infante, a 20-year-old fan from Charlotte who was picked from the stands, won $170,000 for making a halfcourt shot during a timeout. The prize pool had been established at $50,000 last month and grew by $10,000 each game.