Raptors 105, Bobcats 84
TORONTO (AP)—A zone defense and a Jose Calderon-led offense helped Toronto to an easy victory.
Andrea Bargnani added 14 points for the Raptors, who played without starting point guard T.J. Ford (sore right ankle). Calderon, Toronto’s backup point guard, has played well with Ford hobbled in recent games.
“Jose has been fantastic,” Ford said.
Toronto allowed Charlotte to shoot 58 percent in the first half, but the Raptors stifled Charlotte’s offense with a zone defense in the third quarter.
The Raptors outscored the Bobcats 21-8 in the third, when Charlotte shot just 4-for-18.
“We got it handed to us tonight. It is that simple,” Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “The zone kind of threw us out of character.”
The Bobcats shot just 29 percent in the second half.
“I was talking to Jeff McInnis after the game and he was like, ‘Man, that zone killed us,”’ Toronto forward Morris Peterson said. “Our zone defense saved us tonight because I think individually we weren’t playing as we wanted to.”
Bargnani, the No. 1 pick in the draft, finished 5-for-10 from the field. Adam Morrison, the third pick, went 1-for-6 for just three points.
Toronto’s Pape Sow received a loud ovation when he entered the game in the fourth quarter. Sow played his first game since having neck surgery to repair a fractured vertebrae after falling and hitting another player during practice in the Las Vegas summer league.
“That was the best time I’ve had playing basketball in my life,” Sow said. “That showed me the fans were behind me, supporting me. They didn’t forget me.”
Toronto is 2-1 on a five-game homestand that finishes with Boston and New Orleans.
Calderon’s 3-pointer and Bosh’s jumper made it 90-68 with 5:27 left in the fourth. Calderon added another 3-pointer, giving Toronto a 97-71 lead with 3:30 remaining.
Bargnani had nine points in Toronto’s 37-point first quarter—its highest-scoring opening period this season. Wallace had 11 of his 15 first-half points in the second quarter, cutting the lead to three by halftime.
Ford’s ankle was stepped on Dec. 29 against the Chicago Bulls. He missed three games before returning for Toronto’s last eight games. “He’s just having a lot of pain,” coach Sam Mitchell said. “It could be one game, two games or the rest of the week.” … Toronto outscored Charlotte 49-31 in the second half.