Toronto (29-39) at New Orleans (36-33)

Fair Currently: New Orleans, LA
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Sun Mar 21, 2004
  • TV: RNET
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Toronto Raptors were embarrassed and upset after their latest loss. They know they can’t afford too many more.

With their playoff hopes fading, the Raptors look to rebound quickly when they visit the New Orleans Hornets.

A 96-91 home loss to the Chicago Bulls—one of the NBA’s worst teams—on Friday night dropped the Raptors two games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

With 14 games to play, Toronto has little room for error down the stretch.

“This was a total embarrassment,” Raptors guard Jalen Rose said. “If we play like we played today then we’re not going to get in. That’s the bottom line. We have to play with a sense of urgency, like we really want to get into the playoffs.”

Vince Carter scored 30 points to lead Toronto, but managed just nine in the second half after hurting his left knee in a collision with Tyson Chandler during the second quarter.

“I just think it’s unacceptable,” Carter said of the loss. ”(The Bulls) have nothing to play for and we have a lot to play for. We take two steps forward and now we’re taking a step back and it makes it a little harder.”

The Raptors are kicking off a critical four-game trip, which will also see them visit Memphis, Houston and seventh-place New York.

While the Hornets are likely a lock to make the playoffs, they’re still engaged in a battle for home-court advantage in the first round. New Orleans leads Milwaukee by 1 1/2 games for fourth place in the East.

The Hornets have alternated wins and losses in their last seven games, and have not had consecutive victories since beating Feb. 25-27.

“We haven’t been able to win four or five in a row all year,” Hornets guard David Wesley said. “It’s frustrating that we can’t do that when we have to. We have to get to two in a row before we can get to four or five. Everybody who comes in here is a tough opponent. We have to make more shots, get more stops. I don’t know what it is.”

The Hornets did have a season-high five-game winning streak from Dec. 2-9.

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