New Orleans (33-29) at Toronto (26-36)

Showers in the Vicinity Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 55° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sun Mar 7, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Neither the Toronto Raptors nor the New Orleans Hornets is playing like a playoff team.

The Hornets look to break out of their slump as they visit the struggling Toronto Raptors.

New Orleans has lost five of eight, falling into a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Hornets and Milwaukee Bucks are tied for third in the Central Division, 13 games behind Indiana.

The Raptors are in worse shape. Toronto has lost 11 of 12, including two of three since Vince Carter returned to the lineup after missing six games with an ankle injury.

Toronto has fallen into 10th place in the East, a half-game behind three teams that are tied for the final two playoff spots.

Carter had 32 points and nine assists as the Raptors lost to the New York Knicks and former coach Lenny Wilkens, 109-103 on Friday.

Veteran point guard Rod Strickland had four points on 2-for-10 shooting in his debut for Toronto. The Raptors signed Strickland for the rest of the season on Friday and waived guard Jannero Pargo.

Strickland requested and received his release from the Orlando Magic earlier this month, seeking the opportunity to sign with a playoff team. Strickland averaged 6.8 points and four assists in 46 games for the Magic, who have the NBA’s worst record.

The Raptors needed a point guard because of injuries to Jalen Rose and Alvin Williams, who are expected to miss at least three more weeks.

“It’s imperative he get out there and help us,” Toronto coach Kevin O’Neill said.

The Hornets have one of the top point guards in the NBA in Baron Davis, but lately it hasn’t mattered much.

New Orleans suffered an 88-85 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday despite Davis’ game-high 26 points.

With three All-Star caliber players in Davis, Jamal Mashburn and Jamaal Magloire, the Hornets are considered one of the most talented teams in the relatively weak Eastern Conference. But they have been inconsistent, suffering 14 losses to teams with losing records.

“I don’t know what to say. We just lost. I don’t have an explanation,” guard David Wesley said. “If we don’t get it together, we won’t make the playoffs.”

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