Barnes’ near triple-double sparks Raptors over shorthanded Hornets

Toronto: Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes scored 22 points, grabbed a career-high tying 17 rebounds and dished out seven assists in a 114-99 victory over a depleted Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

The Hornets were missing four starters, including All-Star guard LaMelo Ball to an ankle injury. Big man Mark Williams and forwards Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges were also unavailable, with Bridges having been denied entry at the Canadian border due to personal legal issues, reports Xinhua.

Despite the absences, Charlotte led for most of the game, holding an 81-79 lead going into the fourth quarter. In the first three frames, the Hornets outworked the Raptors with a 9-7 advantage on the offensive glass and won the turnover battle 16-13.

In the final period, Toronto outhustled Charlotte on the glass 20-6, including 8-1 on the offensive end. Both teams took care of the ball, combining for a single turnover committed by Toronto.

“I thought much of our turnovers came from good plays. Trying to make extra passes, finding the teammate open,” said Raptors head coach Darko Rajokovic after the victory. “In the fourth quarter as the game was progressing, we were getting better and better defensively. We did not quit on ball movement and tried to find the best available shot on offence.”

With 9:27 left in the fourth quarter, Rajokovic’s team led by Barnes, who played the entire fourth quarter, went on a 28-14 run to put the game out of reach.

22-year-old Barnes, the 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year, led the way with 10 points and six rebounds in the final frame, while teammates Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. both chipped in with eight points in the fourth quarter.

Siakam finished with a game-high 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Trent Jr. came off the bench with 22 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for his first ever double-double.



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